[blockquote source=”James 1:19-20 (NIV)“]My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.[/blockquote]

No one likes to be around an angry person. Not only is it counter-productive, but it also generates negative vibes that just simply wears you down.  If you, like me have anger management issues, you can start by practising active listening.

Active Listening
Active listening is one of the most critical skills a leader must have. Why the need for the “active” prefix is because some people listen but they do not hear.¬†Especially in the context of work, sometimes we become so preoccupied with our own agenda that we can’t wait for the other person to stop talking so that we can get our point across.

Three Steps to Address Anger Management
So, how does one practice active listening to address anger management issues? It is simply to pause, ask questions, rephrase. Let’s discuss these in turn.

Why Pause?
Because we live in a stimulus-response world, we have been conditioned to react in a certain way whenever we experience a stimulus. As such, it’s always easy for us to fall into the trap of being judgemental when listening to another person relating her story. We need to silent the inner voice in our head when we are listening to the other person. Hence, pause.

Ask Questions
This is simply asking questions to clarify their perception rather than to affirm your judgments. As mentioned, we are ever so tempted to be judgemental in our interactions that we sometimes end up asking questions just to prove that we are correct. However, the point of asking questions here is simply to gain greater insights into the other person’s world. One guiding principle to ask great questions in this instance is to ask open-ended questions. This means you should ask questions that begin with who, what, when, where, why, and how.

As each of us have our own make up of what the world should look like, we sometimes interpret the same piece of information differently. Hence, we sometimes fall into the trap of making our own conclusions where it differs from what the other person is trying to tell us. Further, when you are able to accurately rephrase the other person’s narration, it also proves that you’ve been listening and it can enhance the level of rapport between the both of you.

Father we pray that we will exercise our abilities to listen and listen actively to our spouses, children, parents, co-workers, subordinates, supervisors, and also to You. For we sometimes listen but do not hear, please forgive us when we become angry towards one another, and sometimes even to You. We pray all these in Jesus name, Amen.

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