Need to know how to deal with an angry coworker? Dealing with anger and aggression on the workplace is never an easy job. However, when coworkers get cross and tempers fly, someone has to intervene and defuse the volatile situation. One of our first impulses perhaps in a hot-tempered desire to tell the boss, which is not effectively dealing with anger but just passing the card to someone else. When duty calls, someone must take responsibility and nip the rage in the bud before possible escalation and danger can occur. As the saying goes, anger is one letter short of danger.
- Don’t reciprocate anger. Anger is like a trigger (at a point of desperation an angered person can resort to the trigger as well). Nevertheless, the arbiter can deal with an angry coworker by counteracting the fury with patience and understanding. A well-known proverb says that a soft answer turns away wrath. Anger is just as infectious as a smile. A composed attitude will non-verbally convince the angry coworker to be as calm as you are.
- Use your ears. Listening is proactive and enables the go-between to find out the cause of the anger. An important remedy in dealing with an angry coworker is to discover the cause of the conflict and apply a solution. Talking too much or drowning out the angry coworker is counterproductive and can put you in harm’s way.
- Moving away from anger. Sometimes distance solves our problems; for example, when a bomb with a twenty-second timer threatens to explode. In this case of high irascibility, distancing yourself from the source of anger is a way to deal with an angry coworker. Coworkers who are customarily angry show themselves in need of attention; therefore, distance, either mental or physical, is safety. If you are the intermediary unilaterally trying to calm down a coworker throwing a tantrum, a suggested time-out, whether for a cup of coffee or a snack, can remove peril.
- Empathizing and sympathizing. Validate the coworker’s right to be angry. In the throes of anger, accusation and belittling are no-nos. To deal with an angry coworker, an affirmative shaking of the head or a posture of understanding must be assumed to dispel anger in its earliest stages.
- Post-tantrum communication. In dealing with an angry coworker, communication is most effectively done after anger has spilled over and the offended coworker is at ease. In a sedate mood, the once-angry coworker can listen to reason and can understand what you are saying. On the other hand, at the climax of anger reasoning is blurred and the channels of communication are broken down.
- Don’t do it alone. In a situation where anger can easily turn perilous, another friend or coworker can help deal with an angry coworker by simmering down the anger. There’s strength in numbers; therefore, the presence of another will subconsciously shift power from the angry coworker to the intermediaries trying to quell the quarrel.
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