Close your eyes for a minute. Imagine to yourself that all your coworkers are nice to you, everybody's following the rules, office politics have flown out the window, you just got promoted and there are free donuts in the break room.
OK. Now let's snap back to the reality that there are going to be times at work when, justified or not, you lose your cool and feel mad. While anger is meant to teach you something and has value just like any other emotion, unless you get a handle on it, the water can get pretty deep around you really quickly. So when you feel the heat rising inside you, remember these tactics.
1. Connect compassionately to your sense of morality. One reason people lose it when they're mad is that they have a strong sense of what they believe is right and wrong. They let the feeling of justice being violated get to them and feel obligated to be enforcers. But the simple presence of an unfairness or violation doesn't ever change truth--the sky isn't yellow just because someone else says it is, so to speak. If you know that you're right, then rather than throwing blame, focus on the fact you "get it". Center yourself in the knowledge that you are exactly where you need to be, and have compassion on the offender for what they haven't learned yet. In time, you might even have the chance to be their teacher.
2. Imagine the future. Anger, like any emotion, is a temporary thing. It's going to pass. So take a minute to imagine what you'll be doing after the argument concludes if you make good choices, where the team will be a month from now, or even what's going to happen with that book you started to write. (Bonus points if you can imagine yourself and the offender in friendly, cooperative interaction.) This easy visualization helps you focus on something more positive, all while reminding you that, in the grand scheme of things, the few moments of feeling mad that you're having are a drop in the bucket for your whole life.
3. Do something mundane together. Sometimes the best thing you can when you're mad is to walk away and take some deep breaths for a few minutes. Do that if you can and have to. But engaging in a simple shared activity--say, going to grab a cup of coffee--can remind you that you're on the same team. You don't have to spew niceties at each other through the activity, per se. You just have to share the experience and realize that it's actually not impossible to tolerate each other.
4. Dissect the "other". People generally have a lot they're dealing with--you and your offender probably are no exception. Take a few seconds to be honest with yourself about whether you brought unresolved "other" issues to the table that make you susceptible to overreacting and misdirecting fury in the moment. And at the same time, accept that your offender similarly might be misdirecting at you, such as being frustrated out of fatigue. While you need to still respect privacy boundaries, ideally, say something like, "Can I be totally open with you about why I'm upset? Because honestly, it's not just this right now." or "I can see how mad you are with me, so can we just back up a second? Can I just make sure we're both OK?"
Of course, there are other tried-and-true strategies you can use to top off this list, such as using slow, deep breaths, vomiting your thoughts into a journal before you interact further or just splashing water on your face. Keep those in your toolbox, too. But resolving anger can be a cooperative process that involves a conscious investigation of what will happen or is best to do. It also can mean taking time to get help from others, whether that means an arbitrator from HR, a therapist, or a mentor. Whatever strategy works for you, commit to let the anger go so you can have the peace you need for your business to thrive.