Don’t Do These 7 Things When You Are Angry

If you are in business then you have been frustrated, even all-out angry! Things happen so often in business that can cause frustration. Whatever the cause of the issue, we have all felt our blood boil and we start looking for a way to take action. We have to do something or we will explode! Today, I am going to give you a list of things you should NOT do when you are angry!


Lincoln’s Letter to Meade

Consider Abraham Lincoln’s response to a similar situation shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. General Meade of the Union Army had General Lee and his Confederate Army trapped against the river at flood stage. It was a significant opportunity to attack Lee’s army and likely put a quick end to the war. Instead, Meade delayed. Lee took advantage of the hesitation and escaped, prolonging the war almost two more years.

Upon hearing of this missed opportunity, Lincoln fired off a letter to Gen. Meade that clearly explained his anger and frustration. This letter accused Meade of being unaware of the “magnitude of the misfortune involved in Lee’s escape.” Lincoln said that Lee was within Meade’s “easy grasp,” but that Meade “stood and let the flood run down, bridges be built, and the enemy move away at his leisure….”

Unsent Letters

How do we know so much about this letter? It was found years later…in Lincoln’s personal files. You see, he never mailed the letter. He cooled off and realized nothing good could come from chastising Meade. He decided he may have made the same decision shortly after losing more than 23,000 men in the recent fight in Gettysburg. Other similar letters were found among Lincoln’s possessions.

Wisdom When Angry

The learning here is that it is simply not wise to react and take action when angry. There are too many things that could go wrong. Our information could later prove to be incomplete or even completely incorrect. Because we are not thinking as clearly when we are angry, it is likely we will do or say something we will later regret. Consider this verse from Proverbs:

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man holds it in check. – Proverbs 29:11

Get Angry, Don’t Sin

This is not to say that you are wrong to get angry. Paul told the Ephesians to be angry, but not to sin (Ephesians 4:26). Getting angry is not a sin. It is our actions during our anger that constitute sin. As Christian business leaders, we are going to get angry. There are too many opportunities for this in business for us to avoid it completely.

Since that is the case, we simply need to lay out some simple guidelines for ourselves as to what we will and won’t do when we are angry. I have put together this list of things we should commit NOT to do when we are angry. Take a look and see if these make sense to you. Feel free to question any of them (or to add to them) in the comment section below.

7 Actions To Avoid When Angry

1. Make a decision to fire someone.

    While there is a chance it is the right decision, you need to make sure you feel the same when you have cooled down. Wait a day. If you still feel the same, move forward.

2. Discipline an employee.

    Though you may think this is an acceptable compromise from the decision above, it is still a bad idea to do it when you are angry. Write down your intentions and then review them when your mind is again clear.

3. Call a meeting to discuss a problem.

    The situation that sparked your anger may warrant a meeting for team discussion or even discipline. Unfortunately you will most likely say something you will later regret or rush into a decision you would otherwise take slowly.

4. Send an email to someone who made a mistake. Call it after you are calm.

    Take a lesson from Lincoln and hold your thoughts until you can rethink them. It is likely you will change what you say after some time passes.

5. Go home from work to your family.

    This may seem like a good way to avoid saying something you should not say at the office, but if you end up taking your anger out on your unsuspecting family, what have you really gained? Drive around a while if you must.

6. Show your emotions.

    A seemingly innocent walk through the office where everyone is at work may not seem dangerous. The problem is that your emotions are written all over your face and everyone notices. Even if they are not involved, their imaginations will run wild.

7. Go looking for more mistakes.

    This is probably one of the worst things you can do. There is little doubt you would find something and the offender would bear the brunt of his mistake as well as the one that originally made you angry.

Other Options?

If this list makes you feel like your only option is to crawl under your desk and hide, then I apologize. That is not the case! At the same time, the wisest action you can take is to pray through it. Take a walk outside and pray as you go. Get away from your team until your emotions are under control. You will be much more effective then!

Have you taken any of these actions while angry? How did it turn out?

What actions would you add to this list?

What do you do to cool down?

Photo by Pressmaster/Shutterstock

Don't Miss a Post

Don't Miss a Post

Sign up to receive my blog posts via email and get a FREE copy of my NEW ebook 67 Ways to Integrate Your Faith Into Your Business (Without Being Pushy!). Discover easy-to-implement ways to help you live out your faith beyond Sunday.

Thank you for subscribing! Check your email for access to your free eBook.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Yes, I have you taken some (all?) of these actions while angry, and it didn’t turn out well. But, I don’t anymore (most of the time). In other words, I feel like I have truly learned from those mistakes and have in place some great tools for keeping them from happening again (took half my life, but at least it happened). To cool down, I vent either by journaling or praying or talking to my husband (often all three). Don’t know about you, but blog posts often are born out of that which I get angry about. I sometimes exercise (running or biking are my preferences). Whatever I do, I try to always wait and not act when emotions are running high. So, are we to expect a future post on what TO DO in lieu of these actions, which tend to come the most naturally? I have my own ideas as I’ve mentioned…

    I also wanted to mention that this picture made me chuckle as I thought of Lou Ferrigno and his performance last week on Celebrity Apprentice.

    • Sounds like you need to guest post about that for me!

      • Seriously? Wow! Um… now I have to put my words into actions, don’t I?

  • rajeev


  • Pingback: Anger Is Inevitable - Is It Sin? - Christian Faith At WorkChristian Faith At Work()

  • My Two Cents

    Excellent advice that applies to more than just business! God bless and thanks.