Some people are motivated by anger.
Others completely shut down when they’re angry.
Sports is usually one way to identify which type someone is. I know that when a coach would try to get me angry as a way to motivate me that I would just shut down. I didn’t want to give them any satisfaction. I wanted to do something because I wanted to do it.
But others want to prove to everyone that they’re capable of anything. Tell them they’re not good enough and they’ll get angry and then really go all out to show you just how capable they are.
In business, you might get away with making your team angry, but in general and in the long run I think it’s better to keep the team happy or at least on an even keel.
Another little wrinkle is that you might be making your team angry without even realizing it.
Here are some of the things that make your team angry. See if you could improve things by avoiding these in your business.
1. Loss Of Control, Autonomy
This is a big one. People like to feel in control of their own lives. It’s human nature. But oftentimes in a business setting it can feel like you’re losing control.
Obviously when you agree to work for a business you’re going to have to follow some instruction, some processes that are already in place.
It’s a balance on both sides, but for the boss it’s important to make employees feel like they have reasonable control over things as long as it reflects well on the company and the work that needs to get done gets done.
Unreasonable rules and procedures can creep into a growing business and it can leave team members feeling annoyed.
2. Loss Of Time
Time might be the thing humans value most. Even more than family. When someone takes time, especially when we feel that they’re taking it without our permission, it’s like committing a cardinal sin.
We even get angry today when someone calls us instead of texts. Why? Because a call is an interruption. The person expects us to drop everything to talk to them? That’s an invasion of our time.
In a business, it’s reasonable for the boss to want to have a team work longer. Sometimes without even really asking. Just telling.
That’s shaky ground and obviously can lead to resentment.
People get angry when they’re not good at something. As a boss, you want to challenge your team members to push themselves, but if you misalign someone with something that is not a strength you’re taking a risk. A risk that they’ll struggle to the point of resenting you for putting them in a position to fail.
Now we’re just talking about general resentment. And it can build over time. You do something to an employee, or at least they perceive it that way, and it just gets worse and worse. They ruminate about it. There might be no coming back.
5. Perceived Fairness
Some people are obsessed with things being fair. Even though life is not fair. Maybe a better way to think about it is that things aren’t equal in life.
But let’s say there is a promotion available. You have a number of criteria for the position. More than just numbers. Maybe you hire the person you feel is the best manager of people over the top numbers person.
That numbers person will likely see the situation as unfair. They’re only seeing part of the picture. It’s important to understand how employees perceive fairness. It usually means more transparency from the boss.
Some employees will ask for more money, but I think in many instances they’ll just look for it elsewhere. They’re mad at you for not realizing what they’re worth, but instead of asking they’ll just get it elsewhere. It’s usually the boss’s job to make sure that each person on the team feels well compensated.
Recognition is important to some people. They want their work to have purpose. Even more than compensation in some cases. They want to feel good internally about their work. They want to brag to their friends and family about what they do. They want the recognition.
If, as the boss, you’re not giving this type of person recognition then they’re going to feel angry about the situation. It can be easy to feel that a team member should be happy getting paid for their work and that’s true in many instances, but not all instances.
8. Potential Harm Or Risk
The core of anger seems to be a response to a threat. Back in the cave days a predator might have appeared out of nowhere. Fear first. Then anger. As a response to survival. Getting angry makes us do great things in the short-term.
Or maybe a rival comes in and tries to steal food. Anger brews and gives energy to fight for that food in order to survive.
If you’re putting your employees in danger of some kind or even if they feel that you are they’re going to feel that survival instinct.
9. Loss Of Confidence
This could be related to losing ability. It could be because another person on the team is being a bully. It could be any number of things. But ultimately it’s up to the boss to get the best out of each team member. If someone has lost confidence it’s up to the boss to help them get back on track.
When we lose confidence we can get angry. At ourselves. And at those around us even if that’s not where the blame should be.
Nobody likes to feel controlled. We talked about that earlier. Another offshoot of that is blocking someone. Maybe this gets back to the survival instinct. Feeling like you’re cornered.
I’m a fan of the Green Bay Packers. Every once in awhile there are reports that the current regime blocks coaches and scouts from interviewing with other teams for a variety of reasons.
My feeling is that if someone wants to leave or at least explore the options then you should let them no matter what type of agreement you may have. If they don’t want to be there why keep them? Why hold them back. If they can’t move up the ladder with you don’t stop them from doing so elsewhere.
That’s my feeling anyway.
Anger can ruin a team. Even if one person is feeling angry it can affect the others. And that an obviously affect the business as a whole. It’s your job as the leader to spot anger issues, find the source and look for resolutions. Hopefully the above tips help you do just that.