Lucy has been working in customer service for as long as she can remember. On the whole she feels that she is able to manage her stress levels at work, but she does feel that she gets a build up of stress in her body over time.
She told me that she feels it most in her joints in her lower back and neck and legs. Plus when she feels the most stressed she also eats food that doesn’t suit her body.
When she came to see me she felt overwhelmed with stress, and the need to be successful and produce results at work. But also because she felt overwhelmed with making her work/home/life balance as well.
Lucy’s story is quite common in professionals of any field. When we feel overwhelmed, many of us eat to compensate for that feeling, which then compounds the problem and our bodies feel gloopy, and we just feel burdened with the need to constantly give and give and give.
In my experience, stress is something that we have as a result of a buildup of unresolved anxiety’s, anger and constantly pushing ourselves to achieve higher and higher results. And this is not necessarily isolated to the workplace, we can experience this just in our personal lives as well.
Lucy had recently been in a situation when she was trying to avoid an altercation with her customer. The customer was being somewhat unreasonable, and appeared to be bullying Lucy, and pushing all of her “buttons“.
Lucy said that she could feel herself escalating to a point of becoming argumentative herself, but said that her conscience was offering some balance.
She said that she could’ve quite cheerfully given the woman a piece of her mind, but she chose to step away from the situation. Telling the woman “ I’ll be right back “, she walked away from the scene and into one of the back rooms where is she then exploded to the surprise of her colleagues that were there.
After just a couple of minutes of ranting, she centred herself and with firm resolve she walked back calmly to her workstation where the confused customer was still waiting. Lucy continued to serve the customer, but had created a mental wall that blocked the energy from the customer who at this point was behaving more reasonably.
Afterwards Lucy was congratulated by her work colleagues, firstly for recognizing that she had escalated to a state of anger and frustration, then for recognizing that she should leave the situation momentarily to pull her self together, and also for her level of professionalism in dealing with the difficult customer.
Leaving the situation and taking herself away into a safe zone, was how Lucy was able to diffuse the energy of the situation which could’ve escalated into a blown up argument with the customer. So acting in this way Lucy was able to handle the customer professionally and also earn the respect and kudos from her managers and peers for the way that she conducted herself.
Lucy says that she now monitors the way that she fees the emotions in her body, and now chooses to act before things escalate into a state of overwhelming anger or becoming argumentative.
She continues to use the coaching methods that she learned during our coaching sessions. She says that she now checks in with herself a couple of times each day and actively deals with her stress levels and worries before they escalate into a state of feeling overwhelmed.
We have learned that hiding anger isn’t really good for us, burying it just means that we will have to deal with a bigger problem in the future. Recognizing anger is a first step to resolving it, because you’re actually processing it and learning how to handle it effectively.
How do you manage anger in the workplace? What are your best practices to deal with anger?
I would love to hear from you, post your replies in the comments below.
Written by Sharon Jones