Chill Skills: Anger Management for the Professional

Chill Skills: Anger
Management and
Conflict Resolution
for Professionals
Deborah Thomason Ed.D., CFLE
Professor & Extension Specialist
Clemson University
Conflict is a natural part of
life. It is a normal outcome
of human interaction.
Yet most of us have negative
associations with conflict.
We tend to think of conflict in
terms of anger, hostility,
violence, stress, and fear
Individuals react to conflict
in a variety of ways based
on their prior experiences.
Research indicates that
conflict can result in a “winwin” situation which
benefits all parties involved.
These materials are designed to
provide the knowledge and skills
necessary to cope in a variety of
The activities and content materials
are designed to enable participants
to improve and strengthen their skills
in communication, anger
management and interpersonal
Negative (-) Conflict
• Interrupts normal relations
• Provokes hurtful, personally harmful
effects on the self-concept of the persons
• Causes resentment and hostility
• Makes rational discussion difficult or
• Robs the time and energy of everyone
• Causes stress and resulting hardships
• Causes possible break-up of relationships
Positive (+) Conflict
• Helps people understand what others
feel is important
• Helps define and clarify issues and
• Can lead to a confrontation, which can
bring out ideas, issues, and values in a
way which clears the air
• Can bring a sense of respect to all
• Can be the start of defining adjusted or
new goals, which are more satisfactory
to everyone
Common Responses to
• Avoidance – acknowledge a dispute, but
move to remain uninvolved.
Acceptance – recognize a conflict, but
accept whatever solution emerges or is
Denial – actively refuse to acknowledge or
play a part in resolving a conflict.
Enjoyment – some people benefit from a
conflict and agitate or maintain conflict for
the fun of it.
Flight – actively remove oneself from a
Common Responses
• Ignoring – act as if a dispute did not
Management – acknowledge a dispute,
and act to control its impact. May or
may not address any of the stated or
underlying issues.
Promotion – parties with a serious
grievance and little power may feel they
need to agitate to get their problems
Suppression – powerful parties may use
their influence to deny a problem and
prevent a grievance from surfacing.
Styles of Conflict Resolution
Forcing, Competing (SHARK)
Use of power
Styles of Conflict Resolution
Collaborating (OWL)
Groups problem-solve together; bring up all relevant info; all
parties recognize the abilities and expertise of the others;
issue explored from all angles.
Styles of Conflict Resolution
Compromising, Negotiation (FOX)
Bargaining; meeting each other half way
Styles of Conflict Resolution
Withdrawal, Avoiding (TURTLE)
Attempting to get rid of conflict by denying it exists
Styles of Conflict Resolution
Smoothing, Accommodating (TEDDY BEAR)
Giving in and giving all
Communication Blockers
• Interrupting – Good communication is
not possible when people are cut off
before they have finished speaking. It is
important that everyone tells their side.
• Ignoring – Forms of ignoring can be not
paying attention, monopolizing the
conversation, focusing on one’s agenda
brushing off what someone is saying.
• Sarcasm – Sarcasm is a real
communication killer. It poisons the
Communication Blockers
• Accusing – Accusations are counter
productive. The accused party usually
becomes angry and defensive.
• Insulting/Name-Calling/Threatening
– Aggressive attacks raise hostility
and increase the chances for
• Globalizing – Globalizing attaches
negative labels to people. Global
statements are hardly ever accurate,
and they make people angry and
Communication Blockers
• Judging – Judging occurs when someone
assumes the right to decide if others are
right or wrong, good or bad.
Blaming – Blamers assume that if there is
a problem, somebody must be to blame.
Stating Opinion as Fact – It can be
infuriating to hear someone state an
opinion as if it were the absolute truth.
Expecting Mind-Reading – People assume
that their thought and feelings are visible
to others.
Keys to Understanding Anger
Anger is an emotion.
Anger is good, it’s healthy, it’s normal.
Anger can protect and motivate us.
Bottled up anger can become explosive,
depressive and bad for your health.
Violence or abuse is behavior. It can be
learned and unlearned.
Violence has many forms - verbal,
sexual, emotional or to property.
We need to know what we want and
how to ask for it.
Other people’s anger is their problem.
• Good self esteem means we have
less need for anger.
• TIME OUT is for everyone’s safety.
It stops abuse but does not solve
the initial problem.
• Safe expression of anger is
• Stating what makes us angry is
• We need to learn to use words that
express our anger constructively.
• Learning what triggers our anger
makes it easier to control.
• Owning our feelings is healthy and
reduces conflict.
• Behind anger there are feelings of
hurt or fear of powerlessness.
• We need to remember that we do
not always get what we want.
• Good listening helps reduce anger
and increases self-esteem.
• Children learn how to behave from
adult models. They learn more
from what adults DO than what
they SAY.
• Other people’s abuse does not
have to be accepted.
• Treat anger as a normal part of life.
• Use anger as a signal that there are
problems to be addressed.
Take actions when necessary, but only
after you have carefully thought
through the situation.
Express your anger in moderation,
without losing control.
Use anger to solve problems, not just to
express their feelings.
State your anger clearly, so that others
can respond appropriately to your
wants and needs.
Solve the problem and let go of your
If you cannot find the right words
to describe what you are going
through, find a trusted friend to
help you one-on-one.
Express disappointment,
displeasure or hurt feelings
without losing your temper or
Listen carefully and respond
without getting upset when
someone gives you negative
feedback. Try to see the other
person’s point of view.
Work out your problems with
someone else by looking at
alternative solutions and
After you decide on a solution, try it out.
If it does not work to everybody’s
satisfaction, try again.
Keep going until you find an anger
management or conflict resolution plan
that works.
Keep working until you reach a “Win-Win”