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Dealing with the Tough Stuff: How to Achieve Results from Crucial Conversations by Alison Hill, Sean Richardson, Darren Hill

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Chapter 5

Dealing with the gruff stuff—addressing anger and managing high emotions

Anyone can become angry, that is easy. But to become angry at the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way—that is not easy.

Aristotle, Greek philosopher

If we surveyed 100 people and asked them what the hardest part of dealing with the tough stuff is, 99 responses would be about dealing with emotions. Emotions make things tough, and they are the reason that tough conversations exist. But who would want to live without them? Emotions provide the light and the shade in our lives.

Leaders and managers used to be told to keep a stiff upper lip and not show emotion, to remove emotion from the situation at hand and just deal with the facts. Presenting one face when your body and thoughts scream another is not something you can mask: despite all your efforts to mask emotions, they will come out in some form and people have an innate ability to pick up on this. They see the inconsistency between what you say and what your body language, tone of voice and behaviours are telling them. Emotions are always at play, so we need to reframe the role that emotions play in the workplace. We need to view emotions as a catalyst for change and the fuel that drives the engine of productivity and innovation. Emotions are awesome! But emotions also create and drive conflict and heartache. Mapping a pathway through an emotion-laden environment is tough—it's the very ...

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