We live in peculiar and unsettling times. Today the breaking news is that Scotland’s highest court of law, the Court of Session, has ruled that Boris Johnson’s suspension of the UK Parliament is unlawful, which no doubt will cause further unsettling politically and economically whatever side you are on.
In just about every coaching conversation I have with a client, Brexit – and the impact of living with it – is revealing itself and in ugly ways.
Last week a leadership client, who normally in her own words “keeps a lid on it”, found herself unsettled and yes, ANGRY!
Anger. Not something that in many workplaces is allowed to be expressed (“it’s not professional”). And for those of who were told as children that it was never okay to be angry, it’s doubly hard to admit it even exists, never mind express it.
So if you are feeling angry, what can you do?
If you have a trusted friend or coach, ask them to ask you to list all the things that are making you angry and give yourself the gift of being listened to uninterruptedly. Get into full anger “mode” and let rip! Inequality! Politicians! Whatever it is. When you begin to falter, keep going. Say what you are angry about globally, with Europe, with the UK right… down to your work, your life, your family members, being a mother or not being able to be a mother, what’s okay or not okay to say or be or do because of who you are. It’s cathartic. Try it!
If you don’t have someone you can talk to take out a fresh sheet of paper and a pen, and write, write, write until you have run completely out of steam.
- If you are a leader create this space for your team
One senior team I know, a close team, one that does tough work in the humanitarian field and deeply trusts and respects each other, has an amazing process that is simple but so effective that you could implement immediately.
They call it “The Balancer”. At the top of the team meeting, each person goes round simply naming how they feel. Anything goes. There is no judgment. Instead high and low emotions are simply heard and acknowledged, and therefore everyone feels immediately better for it. Could you create an authentic space like this for your team?
3. Focus on what’s within your control
When you look at your list of complaints, notice what’s outside of your control, what you may be able to influence and those things that are within your control that you can change. And take some action. You’ll feel better and more in control.
Worried about losing your job? Dust off that CV and start a job search, just in case and review your budget.
Hate your job? Use your anger constructively to move you into talking to a career coach who can help you assess what needs to change and to support you to make those changes.
If you’re a leader noticing that anger in your team is causing some pretty interesting behaviours or you’re worried that your worry is infecting them and making them feel even more anxious, getting leadership development coaching for yourself will give you learnable tools to become optimistic and resilient even in the midst of Brexit.
- Show yourself some self-compassion
It’s okay to be angry. Anger results from a sense of injustice and productively channelled can give you the energy to take action and create change.
If you have had an outburst, and you are seriously embarrassed about how you behaved, you can apologise, you can learn from it, you can take action and you can treat yourself the way that a good friend would treat you and be kind to yourself. Kristen Neff of www.self-compassion.org has some wonderful resources about how to do this if you’d like to learn how to forgive yourself and bring yourself back to calm.
If anything of what I have said has resonated with you, and you would like to explore how you can make sense of your anger and channel it more productively into your life, leadership or career why not book a career review consultation?