Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

It can be.

If we're just sounding off or taking the opportunity to leave other people devastated, it's not. It can destroy our relationships and leave us feeling worse.

But there is a place for anger with a purpose.

Anger is the electric charge. The outcome is the professional you, expressing your dissatisfaction, focusing on the behaviour, asking for action simply and clearly.

'That phone is very distracting, please turn it to silent now.'  

'I've noticed that you have been late to our meetings several times. Please make sure you are on time from now on.'

Expressing anger with a purpose is good for your health. An alternative is rumination - going over and over the causes of your anger. Nothing prolongs stress like rumination.



Let's imagine you are about to talk to an unhappy customer. You've known for the last few days that this awkward conversation was coming and you are dreading it.

Here's another way of looking at the same event.

It's a chance to show how well you can use your professional skills.

Do it well and you can add it to your list of stories to tell next time you go for promotion or apply for another job. Treat every challenging experience as an opportunity to add to your collection of stories you can tell in 30 seconds.

Your future interview panel is likely to ask: 'Tell us about a time when you handled a challenging conversation' or 'Tell us about a time you gave excellent customer service/managed competing demands/worked well with others'. You get the picture.

It's called 'behavioural event interviewing' and it's based on the idea that past perfomance predicts future performance. It's very common. Flawed, but common.


Behavioural event interviewing also tests a candidate's ability to remember relevant examples while stressed. Unless you prepare your stories to tell, your best responses may be in the car on the way home.

Be prepared - a collector of stories. Your technical or academic qualifications may get you the interview, but the stories that prove your so-called soft skills will set you apart from the other candidates.

Work on your CV

Take out your CV and add a table with two columns. On the left write the skills you have. On the right, provide the evidence - refer to the stories you can tell (in shortened form). Each time you have worked through a challenging event, make a note to keep with your CV. You won't show the interview panel your collection of notes, but you can go through them as part of your preparation.

When those interviewers ask, 'Tell us about a time you...', you'll be thinking to yourself, 'Thank you for asking'. It beats a long silence while you search your memory for something to fill it.

Spread the word

Encourage those who report to you to be looking for stories to add to their CVs.

Would you be encouraging them to leave? No. You're encouraging them to stay, to develop their careers while they are with you. That beats leaving early because the work seems overwhelming or unrewarding. Collecting stories is affirming and gives a sense of purpose to the work we do.


 Interested in a workshop for your team? Contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We'll put you in touch with a trainer, not a salesperson.



About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are positive psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

In 2011  Professional Speakers Australia awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP.

He has written six books, six e-books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph lives in rural Canterbury. He is a JP and marriage celebrant and enjoys travelling to French-speaking countries.

Interested in training in business writing?

A business writing workshop will give your team far more than just plain English. They’ll be achieving more clarity in less time. Through their emails and letters, they’ll be building cooperative relationships with their colleagues, customers and community.

Learn more

Interested in training to develop your teams’ resilience?

Discover what top achievers do when the going gets tough.

Learn more