Learn to tame your temper at the work place

John Vianney Ahumuza

Managing oneself is one of the greatest tasks of life. Many great men and women who have managed nations and empires have struggled to manage their emotions, especially their temper.

For instance, it is recorded in history accounts that the Macedonian King Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) had an uncontrollable temper that often arose from drinking excessive amounts of wine yet he established one of the greatest empires in the world.

Shaka Zulu, one of the most influential monarchs of the Zulu Kingdom of South Africa, had a wild temper in spite of his successful military adventures and empire formation. It is recorded that upon the death of his beloved mother Nandi, an uncountable number of Zulu people lost their lives during the period of mourning on Shaka’s orders!

These two examples may not be different from modern society’s work places. The tendency to become angry very quickly seems a common phenomenon in work places. However, the ability to control anger is what distinguishes professionals.

There is a gesture known as “golden silence” amidst provocation. Sometimes people provoke us with bad intentions to trap us into error especially when they discover that we have a wild temper. That is why it is always good to overcome such traps through applying rational reasoning.

Adverse effects of lack of control over one’s temper include acts like destroying or damaging organisational property, deleting important files, documents or even locking files up with passwords to deny the organisation access to vital information. This is very bad professionally.

To manage your temper properly in the workplace, try the following:

Think before you act. In the heat of an argument, it is easy to say something you may later regret. Take a moment to gather your thoughts before saying anything, and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.

Additionally, calm down before responding. When you can think clearly again, express your frustration in an assertive but non-confrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.

Physical activity can also help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. Take a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.

And some quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what is ahead without getting irritated or angry. 

Finally, instead of focusing on what made you angry, work on resolving the issue at hand.

All these options are better than a temper tantrum. It is a sign of professional weakness. Remember Christ gives us the grace to overcome dilemmas. This grace must distinguish us as Christians. And often the public is watching you closely so be mindful of your actions.

The writer is a lecturer at Foundations Studies Department