4 Signs You’re an Angry Leader, and 4 Ways to Change

Anger is the secret weapon some leaders use to fuel themselves and motivate others. And it works—to a degree. Like a shot of nitrous oxide in the carburetor, anger can supercharge your energy, intimidate your rivals, and put the fear of humiliation or failure into your team members.

All you need is an opposer to get you fired up—such as a tough competitor or a poorly performing team member—and you can take off on a rant that will put the fear of the Almighty into everyone in your organization.

That may work in the short term. But like any dangerous drug, anger has many negative side effects. It alienates people, breeds discouragement, and leads to cynicism and hostility in the workplace.

Are you tempted to use anger as a motivator?

  • Do you work with more intensity when you’re upset?
  • Do you bottle up frustration about team performance until it explodes?
  • Do you like it when people get a little nervous when the boss shows up?
  • Do your team meetings include more criticism and negative examples than praise and positive highlights?

If so, you may be relying too much on anger and intimidation in your leadership style. Here’s a few tips to move past this approach:

  1. Resolve Issues Quickly

The Bible urges, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” (Ephesians 4:26), and that’s brilliant advice. When you encounter problems with your team, address them immediately and gently. Don’t allow yourself to brood on matters until they become toxic.

  1. Give Others the Benefit of the Doubt

Most competing organizations are not cheating. Tough opponents are not out to destroy you personally. Most of your employees are working hard and trying to make a difference. Assume a good motive in everyone until they prove you wrong. It will transform your approach to personnel and problem management.

  1. Don’t Take Push Back Personally

When people reject your ideas, they’re not rejecting you. The team member who spots a problem in your strategy is actually doing you a favor. He or she wants the plan to succeed as much as you do; the criticism isn’t always aimed at you. Learn to welcome the rigorous inspection of your ideas, and remember that under-performing team members are not letting you down—they’re cheating themselves.

  1. Find a Way to De-Stress

Leadership is stressful. It places demands on you that others in the organization do not understand, and it brings unique frustrations. Left unchecked, stress can boil into a generalized anger that will affect every relationship in your life.

Relax. Learn to blow off some steam in healthy ways, such as exercise, hobbies, and family activities. Release the safety valve occasionally, and you’ll keep anger from polluting your leadership style.

What about you? What’s your best advice for keeping your cool as a leader? I’d love to hear your answer on Facebook or Twitter.



Featured Resource | Outstanding Leadershipol1-2

With more than 40 years of leadership experience, Stan Toler knows what it takes to empower people to reach organizational and personal goals. He cuts through the mystery and confusion and provides clear guidelines to help you accomplish vital leadership tasks, including…

defining your vision, developing your plan, and communicating clearly to help people buy in to your shared goal overcoming common leadership challenges to create a culture of success building strong relationships and effective teams that make working hard worthwhile.

You’ll find all the tools, tips, and practical guidance you need to help individuals and groups reach their highest potential and fulfill their God-given purpose.