Have you ever received an angry email or message to which you want to YELL right back?  Part of our human wiring is our ‘gut emotional feelings.’  We want to get back at someone when they’ve hurt us.  We want to do a metaphorical punch in the face when verbally attacked.  So what is one way that can keep you from diving into the cesspool of anger?  It’s what I call the “10-hour” rule.  

Let’s play out a scenario.  Suppose you have a Wednesday deadline for a report from your boss.  He needs it for a presentation to a potential client on Thursday morning.  You dot the last ‘i’ on the keystroke and send it to him as an attachment to an email.  All is good.

But then Thursday afternoon, after his failed presentation, your boss leaves a message scolding you like a little child because he didn’t receive your email.  Your first response might be to call him back and match his anger level because you know you sent it and it didn’t bounce back.  Instead, you decide to exercise the 10-hour rule.  You wait until the next morning to respond.  Here’s what happens within those 10-hours.

1 – The boiling of emotions simmer.  Emotions come and go.  They are fleeting and can be controlled simply by waiting them out.

2 – Your mind formulates the best way to answer.  You know you’re in the right.  You know you did what was called for.  Waiting the 10-hours helps your logic throw off the blinders that erratic emotions usually clamp on.  You can think about the kind of response to which your boss would react best.

3 – The trouble on the other side may resolve itself.  You sent the email but it found its way into … you guessed it … his spam folder.  If you’d have responded right away, the situation would have been a “he-said-she-said” anger fest – unnecessarily.

Your boss calls you the next morning after realizing your report was in the spam folder.  He doesn’t apologize to you but now directs his anger toward the IT guys who should have known better.   At least you avoided a useless argument with the person who signs your paychecks.

Caveat – DONT BE LIKE YOUR BOSS.  If you did drop the ball or mess up in someway, admit it immediately with humility and sincerity.  People will notice the difference!

How do you think this post can help you?

(Bible reference – ROMANS 12:18)



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