Captain’s Assistant (1st Mate Newsom) speaking to you today! We’ve all seen the guy or gal in traffic that completely loses it, based on a mistake of another, whether the mistake is perceived or real. People who lose their tempers, look and act like losers.
Last year my husband was driving home from school. A man ran a stop sign and almost hit my husband. The man honked his horn. However, at the next stop light this not so “gentle” man exits his vehicle and begins yelling and pounding on my husband’s window. My husband rolled down his window, and calmly asked this man to stop pounding on his window. However, instead of calming down, the man reached into the car and ripped the glasses off of my husband’s face and crushed them in his hand and threw them back at my husband’s face. My husband called the police and the man drove off.
How do you visualize this man looking? Did you have a specific stereotype in your mind? What if I told you that this man was in a suit and tie? Would you want to work with a “hot head”? I know that I certainly wouldn’t. Keeping your temper in check is the mark of a true professional. Here are a few tips on how to do so from Harvey Mackay in his article Only Losers Lose Their Tempers.
- Count to 10—20 or 30 if necessary. Just as you can’t unring a bell, taking back hurtful and angry words is next to impossible.
- Excuse yourself for a few minutes if possible. Walking away from a volatile situation gives you a chance to collect yourself and measure your reaction.
- Take care of your health. Studies show that people who eat properly, exercise and sleep enough are better equipped to handle stressful situations.
- Share your concerns calmly. It takes two to tango, but things slow down if one of them does a waltz instead.
- Give the other side a break, even if you think they are wrong.
- Choose your battles according to how important the outcome would be. Never fight a battle just so you can say that you’ve won. You won’t be perceived as a winner; you’ll be labeled a bully.
- Accept that some things are beyond your control.
Remember that when a person’s temper gets the best of him, it brings out the worst in him.