When Getting Angry Is a Positive

What if getting angry at work is a good thing?

Heresy! Blasphemy! Sin! you say? Not to Susan Bernstein, a PhD executive coach and leadership consultant. Now don’t go thinking she’s suggesting you need a rage room, or that everyone should be free to take out their anger on everyone else.

“Anger is simply a request for change,” Bernstein told her San Francisco DisruptHR audience. “What if your well established anger is actually a way to get into festering problems and solve them?”

She offered up a couple of examples of how anger led to innovative solutions to the problem that underlied the emotion; potato chips were borne out of the anger of a chef infuriated by a demanding diner.  That’s the kind of channeling of anger that Bernstein says is good for your organization.

“I invite you to look at anger with curiosity,” Bernstein says to her audience of HR professionals. Ask two questions, she says: What’s broken and how do we fix it?

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Believing anger to be a good thing is not an easy sell, as Bernstein admits. But spend a few minutes with her to understand her point and you may be convinced. At least a little.

Note: In partnership with DisruptHR, TLNT presents some of the best Disrupt presentations from events across North America and now the world. Disrupt talks are modeled on the TEDx concept: Short, to the point talks on all things HR — talent, culture and technology.


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