Anger Is Not A Winning Strategy

Some people use anger as a winning strategy. Anger seems to be an extremely effective way to get what you want. If you are the angriest person in the room, usually people will step out of your way. They may be afraid for their safety, or the safety of others around them. If someone shows up angry, they have a good chance of getting their way.

Anger will win in the short run for a couple of reasons:

  1. People who don’t want to fight fire-with-fire or anger-with-anger will stand down and try a gentler way of making a change. Anger is like a wildfire that will ignore and destroy the gentler approach.
  2. At the outset, it appears that the only way to win against one angry person is to attack that anger with a stronger, more angry person. Since there seems to be no opposition, the angry person gets their way.

Anger will not work in the long run because eventually, people will put the safety of the community above their own safety. This simply happens to us as humans. We generally are very selfish and look out primarily for our good. But eventually, when we realize that destroying the collective societal structures will infringe on what we want to be, we will stand up against an invading concept or attacker.

Practical Application

Be careful that you aren’t using anger to get what you want. It can be effortless to slip into this easy way of getting what you want. You might sit in a meeting and say things like, “we just have to do it this way because any other way is stupid.” Or, “we know people won’t like it, but they will have to just get over it.” Check your motive. Are you saying these things in a way that sounds angry at the people who are doing things in the old way? Are you implying that you are coming to burn down what someone has built?

Change may be necessary, it probably is. But you want change to happen because everyone agreed on a problem and solution, not because everyone got out of your way because you sounded angry on Tuesday.

Make a big change in the world. Disrupt what needs to be disrupted. But don’t use anger as your wedge to get things started. Use collaboration, grow other people, learn from everyone.