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Donnelly Effect delivers actionable SPARKS to #WorkHappy, using HAPPINESS BY DESIGN to shape and reinforce a culture of service.


Many of us were taught that the only way to lead effectively is to eliminate emotions like anger and frustration, or at the very least, ignore and hide them. Be professional at all costs, right? Wrong (kind of).

At Donnelly Effect, we love “working happy”...using happiness by design to emphasize an inspired culture of service. But we’d be remiss to pretend that leaders, employees, customers, etc. don’t get angry every now and then. One key to working happy is your ability to show and express a full range of emotions. This includes anger.

As a leader, you are the person others vent to. Other times, your managerial role is the driving source of another’s anger. How you handle this fury will shape the way your team addresses anger among themselves moving forward, so it’s important that you harness it appropriately. 


The consequences of working angry

The truth is that angry bosses are rarely effective. Having a good yell may feel cathartic in the moment, but it creates a toxic environment and ruins your standing among the team.

Internalize, or hold onto, feelings of anger for too long, and your feelings snowball into an uncontrollable ball of rage waiting to explode. Both options are counterproductive at best for building a healthy and thriving service culture. In just seconds, trust, motivation, and respect are wiped clean, leaving you with a team that’s frightful and disengaged.

Working angry is quite literally the opposite of working happy – and a method we don’t suggest you make a habit of. The consequences are greater when you work angry, such as your personal mental health, your team’s mental health, and your business’s bottom line.

Intelligent anger

Be smart about HOW you address feelings of frustration at work.

Leaders should stop trying to hide negative emotions and learn to express how they feel in a controlled and civilized way instead. By all means, be angry, but be intelligent while you’re angry. This means acknowledging – not ignoring -- your feelings and finding a way to express them in a better light.

Step 1: Own it

Internalizing anger, or blaming another for your anger, can be taxing on the team’s well-being. Realize that you feel this way, then resolve to not let it fester for too long.

Step 2: Express it

Say what you need to say to communicate your feelings to your team in a calm, level-headed way. “I’ve got to be honest: the fact that we lost that contract to our competitors makes me frustrated. I feel like we could have done better.”

Step 3: Flip it

State what you’re going to do turn the situation into a positive one that motivates. “Remember when we lost that contract to our competitors? Let’s recall how bad that felt and make sure we never feel that way again!”

Harnessing anger into something POSITIVE can have lasting affects on your team, such as an increased motivation to succeed and overcome hardships together. When working happy isn’t an option, try rerouting those negative feelings into actions that will lift your team UP, not drown them in sorrow. 

Want to BE MORE EFFECTIVE? Follow us on the journey:
ABOUT MIKE DONNELLY: With over 20 years of Disney leadership experience, Mike Donnelly, Chief Experience Officer (CEO) of Donnelly Effect shares his insights on Talent Selection and HiringEmployee OnboardingCustomer ExperienceService Culture and Leadership-among others. Donnelly Effect is home of the exclusive "World-Class Workshop" series and offers consulting services and keynote addresses to audiences of all sizes and industries. Since 2007, Mike Donnelly has been a contracted Disney Institute Facilitator, delivering Disney customer service training to audiences across the United States. 


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