Anger and Conflict Management

WRITTEN January 13, 2021 Author: Patricia McCormack

Sometimes it almost feels like we have two pandemics affecting us all on so many levels.

Of course, the first is COVID-19, changing our work, school, social, and family dynamics in ways we never imagined could happen. The second one however, is also very painful (with no vaccine in sight) and that would be anger.

Anger comes out in many ways. It can be yelling in the supermarket, battles on social media, road rage, or even acts of terrorism within our own communities. But just because anger is a valid emotion, that doesn’t mean there is no need to manage it. It is up to each one of us to take control of ourselves whether at work, at school, or at home as best as we can.

Anger Management

On the journey to success you have to learn to navigate your emotions, especially anger.

Controlling anger can be one of the most challenging things to do, yet it is vital because the ability to stay calm, think clearly, and make good decisions will ensure healthy and productive reactions when you feel that anger. Practice techniques to successfully navigate your emotions while positively influence the emotions of others, leading to more favorable interactions and outcomes.

First, take an honest look at yourself, and ask some hard questions:

  • What causes my anger?
  • Which behaviors do I have that cause anger, as well as which ones create a pleasant environment?
  • What things could I do to sidestep that temptation to become annoyed and angry?

Conflict Management

There will always be conflict. But to be fair, conflict is not always wrong.

Conflict makes communities and organizations flourish because it tests existing orders and forces selection of new best practices. Learning to manage conflict and turn it into an opportunity for growth and innovation is a learned skill that will grow with training and experience. We all benefit by learning to resolve differences in a respectful way that will not alienate or hurt others.

Now is the time to work to identify the existing conflicts in your life. Take a moment to acknowledge the conflict and look for possible outcomes and/or resolutions.

  • Work through barriers such as: not listening, fear, being right, bad attitude;
  • Apply assertive Conflict Management techniques and principles to actual existing discord,
  • Express and acknowledge emotions appropriately, and
  • Find shared-power solutions through negotiation and/or mediation.

TOOLS FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION

  1. RESPOND WITH POSITIVE ATTITUDE

Conflict means new possibilities. Conflict (not attack) can bring new opportunities for growth. Be willing to resolve. Listen. Be clear. Focus on principles over personalities.

2.    BUILD RAPPORT

Building rapport means discovering commonalities. What do you have in common with the other person? Listening and understanding builds rapport (empathy). Discover common needs and concerns. Understand the other person’s side and background.

3.    BE ASSERTIVE

Being assertive means speaking without hurting. Try using “I” statements.

4.    SHARE POWER

“Power over” means that there will be a winner and a loser. Shared power means win/win. Be willing to see the “big picture.”

5.    EXPRESS APPROPRIATE EMOTIONS

Express negative emotions carefully. Emotions need to be checked to allow for fact-finding.

6.    SEEK SHARED SOLUTIONS

Work as equal partners. Collaborative resolution means ownership. Be Fair. Negotiate. Develop numerous solutions. Choose the one that is best for all. If necessary, involve a neutral third party (mediation).

We cannot take responsibility for resolving the greater societal anger, it is too large for one person. However, one person can make a change at the everyday level by increasing self-awareness, identifying causes and triggers, focusing emotions on purposeful solutions, and finding a positive path forward.


This information is from the Staff Development & Human Resources curriculums. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash 

Other Conflict Management Resources

Conflict Management Strategies for Easing Workplace Tensions

How Understanding Your Anger Can Help Resolve Conflict

How to Manage Your Anger During Conflict

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