Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.
Let’s get one thing very straight: The vast majority of people you meet at work are nice, caring and considerate. They go out of their way to be polite, they help if they can and they truly care about the well-being of people around them.
Yes, there are inconsiderate, annoying jerks out there sure, but they are a minority. They may seem like they’re everywhere (just read Bob Sutton’s excellent book The No Asshole Rule for some great examples), but that’s only because we tend to let annoying people take up more mindspace, making them more visible than their numbers warrant.
So how do you deal with annoying people at work?
Outside of work, you can walk away. If your cab driver is a jerk, you can get off and take another cab – odds are you’ll never see him again. If the person sitting next to you in a bar is annoying, you can get up and leave. At work though, you’re not free to leave that easily. In most cases you’re more
likely to want to stay and resolve the issue.
The very best strategy is to become less angry. If you can fix it so that it takes more to trigger your anger reflex, you will enjoy greater peace of mind and be more free to act decisively and constructively when you are treated badly at work. You will also be less affected by any petty annoyances.
With that in mind, here are some strategies that can help you become less annoyed on the job. Try some of these thoughts, the next time someone or something really gets your goat at work.
1: Staying calm means you don’t do something you regret later
Sometimes when you get really mad, you may end up doing something rash. If you can stay calm, you’re more likely to choose constructive actions.
2: Getting mad often means staying mad
If you get annoyed here and now, that bad mood may last for a long time.
3: When you stay calm, you really annoy those who want to annoy others
If that person is truly out to annoy you, the very best way to annoy them back is to stay cool. Deny them the satisfaction of getting you riled. They hate that.
4: You only harm yourself
Getting annoyed really harms no one but you.