Feb 19

We Can Work It Out: Baby Steps Become Giant EQ Leaps

IMG_2072Here’s a question for you— What is the common thread that ties the following ideas together: Breathing deep, having empathy, listening to water trickle, meditation, counting to 10, reframing one’s thoughts, taking a walk, making a joke, and taking ownership of one’s emotions? Well, if you had been present at WAC’s January 29th community event Corporate EQ: Anger in the Workplace, presented by Licensed Social Worker and WAC specialist Ginny Brown, you not only would instinctually know the answer, you would have contributed directly to the question. 

Oh, and the answer…..they are all techniques for averting anger in the workplace, conceived of and contributed by the event’s attendees as effective feedback and “baby steps” embarked upon, following the evening’s breakout discussion groups. The brilliance behind Ginny’s anger-dodging anecdotes seemed to have gotten everyone’s wheels turning on the subject, reminding us that we all struggle with angry tendencies on some level, and certainly work alongside people who either have prominent anger issues themselves, or tend to have a curious knack for pushing our angry buttons.IMG_1368

Try To See It My Way

Much of the crowd’s feedback on taming anger came from personal experiences, whereas the newly-declared baby steps were inspired by the advice of others in the room. For instance, one contributor’s spoken indication that “men and women communicate differently”, and another’s declaration that “when you listen, you can then be heard by the other person” both seemed to have had direct influence on no less than two other people’s baby steps, which roughly read “I will try to be in the other person’s shoes”.

Why The Fuss?

Some of the most valued practical advice to emerge from the post-presentation discussions concerned, ironically, not the techniques for recovering from an angry episode, but rather the inspiration for steering clear of anger in the first place. An underlying theme of “not getting upset over what’s out of one’s control” permeated the conversation, ushering in the realization that when we focus on our anger, we are stealing time and energy away from focusing on our goals. Ginny herself is living proof of this paradigm in action, the fruits of which can be acknowledged on her SEEK Safely NPO website, and in her sustained ability to walk the talk despite unthinkable hardship. If someone who has a legitimate reason to be angry can consistently avert anger, there is clearly hope for the rest of us. How fortunate we are that she is not just willing, but is driven to share her advice.


Show Me Some Proof 

One final note, which can stand as a testimonial to Ginny’s lesson, comes from one of the evening’s participants, who enthusiastically emailed Deborah the following day with an EQ success story for the ages, and subsequently granted me consent to share it with all who can learn from it:

“By the way, great program last night. On the way home, I got a text from my husband that he was angry at me (for something that truly was not my fault). Rather than get worked up on the car ride home and prepare for a fight, I changed the INTERNAL cue and looked under MY umbrella to discover why I was getting angry. (Felt attacked and wrongly judged). When I got home, I asked him why he was upset…LISTENED to his perspective without commenting…validated what he was feeling…then presented my thinking on the issue. We had a conversation instead of a fight! Thank you Ginny Brown!”


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