Learning to diplomatically state your opinion after carefully reviewing a situation is a talent some people have never developed and that is unfortunate. We've all at one point or another worked with a hot-headed person that will ream you out first and ask questions later or rampage about things that are not, in the larger scheme of things, all that important. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it makes for a hostile work environment and no one wants to work with a person like that.
Some people come by the ability to pick their battles wisely, for others (like myself) it is a learned skill. Not that I was ever a combative or aggressive person, I just had a tendency to get up in arms about things and voice my opinion before I took time to fully consider the situation. Thanks to my prior boss - I developed the 24 Hour Rule and I use it in all aspects of my life. If something tweaks me the wrong way, I wait for 24 hours to give myself time to mull it over and try to understand the opposing side. If I'm still up in arms a day later I will diplomatically and thoughtfully state my concerns.
During my years in recruitment I've interviewed all personality types. I've been in situations where I've had to tell someone they didn't get the job only to have them scream at me and dismiss me as an idiot that clearly doesn't know what I'm talking about, and I've received emails that advise me to go screw myself because I just lost out on the opportunity to work with the best in the business. The only outcome to that type of behavior is to be fast tracked to the DNU (do not use) pile. No one wants to work with someone like that. These folks could've benefited from knowing how to pick their battles.
The next time you find yourself frustrated and ready to vent your opinions, take a deep breath, then give yourself 24 hours to assess the situation and if you decide its a worthwhile battle - go in armed and ready with a cool head. Dr. Phil loves to pose the following question: "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?". Some battles just aren't worth the effort, even if you're right. The only way to realize that is to take the time to think about each situation before you react.
Food For Thought:
- Anger and bitterness and other negative emotions come from a place of fear. Always remember when dealing with an angry person they are fearful of something (losing their job, change, etc). By remembering this you can sometimes get to the bottom of the situation and dispel their fears before things escalate.
- You teach people how to treat you. It is OK to tell someone that their behavior is unacceptable. If someone is acting negatively, explain to them calmly that you will not carry on a conversation until they're composed.
- Crap rolls down hill - if you are being treated poorly by your boss, your boss is often being treated poorly by his/her boss etc. Don't be the next in line to continue that lineage.
- Learning to meditate or even something as simple as setting alarms on your phone at specific times during the day to remind you to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths can surprisingly go a long way in improving your mood.