Tempers

Do you occasionally see red, fly off the handle, snap, lose your cool, blow a fuse, boil over, bristle, chafe, flip your lid, or get your knickers in a twist?  How about go ape, bananas, ballistic, loopy, mental or through the roof?

Whatever your preferred phrase is, have you ever lost your temper?

Tempers

Is been said that losing your temper is like losing your car keys—it’s something you never chose and it always happens at the most inconvenient time.

Everyone loses their temper, but it manifests itself in many different forms. The classic picture of a person losing their temper involves yelling, swearing, pushing, accusing, and fist pounding.  Neck veins become visible, the jaw is clenched, and anger radiates from their face.

In reality, that image represents only a very few people.

Most hide it away as best they can, but those who know them well, know they are angry and know there will be ramifications.

Control

As business leaders, there is no need to let an outburst in anger interfere with our work.  The effects on our employees, clients, and reputation are long-lasting and difficult to overcome.  We do not have the luxury of high-profile business leaders or pampered celebrities who can afford to weather the blowback of a single outrageous uncontrolled burst of anger.

It is possible not to have to worry about the effects following an outburst of temper.  We can learn to control our tempers, so there will be little or no aftereffects to apologize for.

The following are suggestions designed to create a change in mindset, allowing us to manage our tempers.

  1. Know yourself. Know how you feel and respond to bad news, and be prepared to act in a planned manner.  For example, your project manager walks into your office to inform you the computer that houses a large project that is due tomorrow just crashed.  You know that problems like this are triggers for your anger, so be prepared.
  2. Plan your disruption. In the above example, if the lid would usually blow off and everyone would feel your rage, plan an exit strategy.  Get in your car, go to a park, and walk until you can think clearly.  Do something to disrupt your typical temper rage.  Remember, you’re not responsible for what happened, but you are responsible for your reaction.
  3. Chose how to respond.  In nearly all situations, there are two reactions.  The first is immediate.  This is the response to what caused your potential temper in the first place.  After you have disrupted the anger, the situation still exists and just because you disrupted the temper doesn’t mean all is forgiven.  Actions demand appropriate reactions.

The second reaction, now that you are calm and planning ahead, is to deal with what caused the anger for the long term.  Look at it as if it were a business problem.  What business changes can you make that will limit the anger-causing problem not to happen again?

  1. Let those around you know that you are focused on solutions. There is no retribution because of problems—only solutions.  With the fear of being the target of your temper removed, your employees will be more honest and likely to focus on solving problems.

The Bible

James 4:1-2 says.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

The Bible teaches that anger at its core is simple.  James is saying that our anger fights anything that comes between us and what we want. Because we are committed to our wellbeing, when something prevents our desires, we feel unjustly treated and respond to the perceived injustice by displaying our temper.

Fortunately, Philippians 2:13 says.

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

We have a God who is ready and willing to transform us and work within us to mirror His desire and not ours.  We are no longer concerned with our wellbeing, but His desires.

Situations will always arise that will test our ability to control our tempers.  To avoid the known disastrous effects of uncontrolled temper tantrums, we need to have a plan.  And part of that plan requires us to rely on God to help redirect our focus so that whatever happens, we know it is not about us, but it is about Him.