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HomeSPECIAL GUESTAnger at the workplace – the psychological perspective

Anger at the workplace – the psychological perspective

Anger is often seen as an emotional mask, a secondary emotion used to cover up feelings that make us feel vulnerable, such as fear, disappointment, humiliation, pain, disrespect, or a sense of injustice. There are four basic emotions—fear, sadness, joy, and anger—each characterized by specific traits: internal organic reactions, cognitive assessments of situations, facial expressions, and behavioral reactions determined by context.

Aristotle, in his work “Nicomachean Ethics” written in 350 BC, addresses the issue of anger, emphasizing the difficulty of getting angry appropriately: “Anyone can become angry—that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way—this is not easy.

As a secondary emotion, anger is preceded by frustration. The process of expressing anger involves several steps: initial frustration, awareness of the obstacle, formulating a need, the tendency to blame others, the desire to punish the obstacle, and finally, the manifestation of anger.

Research in the field of emotional intelligence, such as the studies conducted by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, founders of TalentSmart, highlights four essential components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Reuben Baron identified five groups of skills that define emotional intelligence and influence a person’s ability to navigate stress, conflicts, and tense situations at work.

Emotional intelligence and intellectual quotient (IQ) complement each other, contributing to maximizing personal performance. IQ is established in adolescence and remains relatively constant, while emotional intelligence can be continuously improved and developed through experience and maturity.

To prevent or manage anger at the workplace, the following strategies are recommended:

  • Actively listen and respond succinctly, using the language of the interlocutor.
  • Withdraw from discussions at the right moment, avoiding stubbornness.
  • Know your professional duties and rights to recognize when they are violated.
  • Focus on the present and avoid judgments based on past actions.
  • Take short breaks to rebalance emotionally, focusing on things that calm you.
  • Learn to say “no” when the situation demands it.

In conclusion, although anger is a strong emotion often seen negatively, it can play an important regulatory role in our psyche, and its proper management can transform anger from a disruptive factor into one of balance and personal growth.

Psychologist Claudia Nicoleta Vija



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