How are you feeling as we move into December?

It’s not surprising that there is a lot of angst in the world these days. What with all the mixed messages over the pandemic and many other political issues both at home and abroad. Many of us have personal worries too, either at work or home. Or both! It’s no wonder that we may be feeling irritable, out of sorts and frustrated.

The problem with feeling on edge is that it can impact those around you. Especially if they’re also feeling irritable.

Have you noticed an increase in petty arguments? Are little irritations starting to grate on the nerves? Maybe more serious clashes too, which can have knock-on implications to relationships and productiveness.

There is a solution, which is simpler than you may think…

Even the most laid back, mild mannered and tolerant of us still have things in life that can wind us up. Normally, little irritations can be ignored. Until they start to layer on top of each other. You may not even notice that they’re building up, or that you’re feeling grumpier, getting huffy over little things.

All those feelings – grumpy, irritable, frustrated, cross – come from a place of anger which is a fear based emotion. Fear that something we hold to be important is under threat in some way.

We feel our emotions before recognising the thoughts that created the feeling. When we stop to think about our emotional intelligence, then we recognise our responses to certain situations.

I often hear people airing their frustrations in my safe-space coaching sessions. I’ll listen to them venting about superficial ‘what someone did’ matters. Then I’ll help them to find the root cause of the irritation by asking: “When that person does that, what is the reason that you feel angry?”

An example of a superficial irritation is when someone comes into your office and moves something – a pot plant, for instance. They put it somewhere different and your reaction is one of immense irritation that’s disproportionate to that action. Or you go to make a drink and there are no clean mugs in the office kitchen so you get irrationally angry that seemingly no-one but you washes up..

Conflicting Opinions Add Fuel to the Emotional Fire

When someone else is angry or frustrated, it’s not usually about you. Often, there is something else going on in the background. Before you react, ask yourself what else may be a factor.

In the heat of the moment, we may get defensive and anger escalates. Remaining calm and sticking to facts rather than opinions helps to soothe the situation. Opinions can be argued, facts cannot. Using facts and data diffuses the anger because the logical part of your brain needs to focus, taking you out of the emotional part and into the thinking part.

When there’s anger, using emotional intelligence helps to diffuse further outbursts and emotions. So, regularly check in with yourself to see how you’re really feeling.


Emotional Intelligence Douses the Fire of Anger

Have you noticed you or others being more irritable than usual? Often, having someone there who’s detached from the emotional part can help change the way you react. That’s where a coach is particularly valuable.

My role, as a detached observer, is to take you outside of that place of irritation to observe your own reactions. This allows you to be objective and take stock of the situation.

Recently, a client invited me to a business meeting to be the calming influence as he knew things would get heated. On another occasion, in a lively Zoom meeting where people were talking over one another, I reminded the host that there is a ‘mute all’ button. That helped to stop the noise and calm things down! The host could then cut in objectively and manage the meeting.

Typical Irritations

There are many situations that can trigger an angry response. Here are a few you may recognise:

  • Confusing messages and inconsistency – poor communications at work, or conflicting guidance
  • Disrespect and disloyalty
  • Mismatching expectations – someone not doing what you asked and becoming unreliable
  • Interruptions – very irritating when sharing information
  • Lack of visibility in communication – when others are doing their own thing and not sharing with the team
  • Groundhog Day – needing to keep having the same conversations again and again

What Is Anger?

Anger usually comes from a place of fear. What are they frightened of? Perhaps a person experiences the world in a certain way and people are not responding the way he wants, so his version of the world feels threatened. Everything he relies on is questioned, unsettling him. He’s frightened of change and the consequences of the unknown.

A fear reaction is on a scale from irritation to anger, little niggle to massive row. Fear is an emotion – we need to get to the root to diffuse it. We all occasionally have these buttons pressed to some degree. Working with a coach can help develop the emotional intelligence to handle the times when irritation strikes so that it doesn’t escalate.

As a DISC specialist, clients find looking at their frustrations from a DISC perspective to be very helpful in our sessions.

DISC Profiling Your Fear

D – Dominance

  • Success is your driver, so your fear is failure and of being taken advantage of. When people don’t follow through on expected actions or leave work early, it feels like they’re taking advantage, not pulling their weight to help you or the business to succeed.

I – Influence

  • You want to be everyone’s friend so your fear is of rejection. When people don’t respond to your calls or talk to you, you’re afraid they don’t care. Anger can stem from feeling that you don’t matter.

S – Steadiness

  • Routine is needed to feel safe, so change is your greatest fear. Anything that differs from your expectations is a change that instils fear. With rules and regulations frequently changing, many of us have these unsettling feelings to some degree.

C – Compliance

  • The compliant part of you is the perfectionist which wants everything to be just right . You believe you have the best way to do things and so the fear here is criticism. When people don’t conform, your reaction is strong because it feels like a personal criticism.

Whatever our profile combination, our imaginations can exaggerate those worries. Your inner voice keeps niggling. Someone didn’t return a call so something bad will happen. You catastrophise over what will go wrong. From one simple thing – someone not returning a call – your reaction is disproportionate. Your imagination has extrapolated an entire disaster movie from one simple fact.

Understanding what your fear triggers are will help immensely in your response to everyday irritations. A DISC profile helps to pinpoint your strengths as well as your fears, helping you to change the way you react to those around you. This, in turn, helps you to become more effective in different situations, creating a calmer, clearer, more harmonious environment.

Top Tip: Regularly check in with your emotional intelligence to recognise how you’re feeling.


Understand Your Fear Triggers with a DISC Profile

Would you like to get to the root of why you react a certain way in different situations? Or why those around you react the way they do?

My DISC profiling process is far more personalised than an automated online report, creating a deeper look at your results and a more valuable profile. In a two-hour session, first we’ll work through DISC together, then the second half will be spent delving into your profile and what that means for you.

Mention this ‘I is for Irritations’ article when you contact me to book a DISC profile session and you’ll get £50 off!

Either ring me on 07766 004964 or click here to email me.