With mounting performance pressures, highly competitive workplaces and a rat race to achieve too much too quickly, corporate India might just be running into some serious corporate rage problems, says Unnati Narang!
With not too many numbers and studies to prove how much of it actually exists, corporate rage is a mystifying subject. Not just because it is hard to measure, but also because its adverse impact is more long-lasting than what appears on the surface. How bad can one guy screaming at another from his cabin be, after all? Why would the company care if employees are fighting, bosses are screaming and cursing at work? Trouble brews when all of this spoils the work environment to such an extent that productivity goes down.
What is the root of the problem? What are some of the reasons bosses go over the top in expressing anger towards their subordinates? “The primary reason for bosses to go over the top is due to stress at the workplace. Stress, if not managed properly, manifests into raging anger. A boss may also get worked up when they encounter disagreements with their subordinates. In many cases, bosses may not even be aware that their behaviour is received as “bad or angry” from the team members. If the boss’s boss is an angry person, then the frustrations may be passed down to his/ her team members,” says Karthik Ekambaram, assistant vice president, Consulting Services, FLEXI Careers India Pvt. Ltd.
“As young leaders fast track their careers, some important qualities – like patience and maturity – which come with age could get missed out, resulting in them succumbing to anger easily,” opines Kanchana TK, executive director, Vantage Insurance Brokers & Risk Advisors Pvt. Ltd.
Given that the environment at work – in almost every industry – is so competitive, no wonder pressures and stress are likely to follow. But do they need to be expressed as anger always? Or are there positives associated with it too? “A study in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that people who were exposed to anger worked harder. This is true to a certain extent but cannot be applied to a habitual angry boss/ work environment. It can have a very negative impact within the team and the organisation as a whole. To face an angry boss everyday is a tough job. Life would be hell for anyone and would result in disinterest in the job and finally quitting from the organisation,” adds Ekambaram.
Then again, angry bosses are everywhere. How do you control your own reactions to someone’s anger? “The best thing to do is to have an open dialogue with the ‘angry’ person.
It is definitely difficult but it will allow the person to express his/ her true feelings. You should then calmly arrive at a solution. If it still persists, you should consult your HR or mentor, and see what best can be done in that situation. If that also doesn’t work, then the last resort might be to simply find a new job. Nothing is worth the unhappiness of working with an angry person,” advises Kanchana.
They say every cloud has a silver lining. So does this all-too-negative story of corporate rage and angry bosses. What’s the positive side of it? “Rationalising the outburst of a person helps in controlling your own reaction, as per an interesting research done by Stanford. This process of rationalising is termed as reappraisal. Hence, if we can rationalise the anger of a boss with a reason, we are better prepared to handle the outburst.
The study also suggests that this reappraisal process can be used even if a boss is prone to anger very often and not limited to a specific situation or an incident. Organisations can play a big role by conducting workshops and sensitisation programmes on managing stress and handling conflicts/ disagreements,” concludes Ekambaram.
Tips for facing an angry boss:
– Understanding the nature of the boss is very essential. Never address difficult issues when the boss is in a disturbed mood.
– An angry boss should not be responded to with the same anger.
– Approach your boss with data and clear statistics on issues where there has been disagreement.
– Set your expectations right and ensure that they are met as planned.