Workplace Anger: Tips On How To Deal With An Angry Colleague
Every office or workplace has that person – one that loses their temper easily and one who is prone to angry outbursts. Their anger can affect everyone near them and could be directed to either their boss, manager, co-workers, or even a customer.
Dealing with an angry colleague can be a hardship and requires you to have a cool head. It is very easy to get upset with a frustrated co-worker and if you don’t know how to deal with them, it can make the situation worse.
One of the reasons that may be causing such aggressive behavior can be workplace stress. Many times, however, it is quite possible that your co-worker is struggling with other anger issues or underlying mental health conditions. Anger, frustration, and irritability can be a symptom for many mental health disorders.
In this blog, we’ll explore some healthy ways you can deal with your colleague’s anger issues without creating chaos or escalating the tension even further.
How To Deal With Angry Colleagues
1. Understand Their Perspective
When we are faced with an angry person, the first thing we do is try to change their perspective. In such a situation, it is important to take a breath and understand where their anger is coming from. Maybe they’ve received some bad news – you don’t know. So instead of changing their viewpoint, maybe try to understand their perspective.
2. Try To Stay Calm
Anger thrives on negativity so when you respond to an angry person in the same negative way, it’s likely to cause chaos and more anger. When dealing with an angry colleague, you need to remain calm. However, you don’t want to come across as a person who is indifferent to a situation that is causing them to act like that. Stay calm but not too calm. When you show indifference (albeit unknowingly) it can cause them to feel angrier.
3. Let Them Know That They Are Heard
Many times people are angry because they feel like they are not being heard. If your colleague is facing such issues then make sure to let them know that you are hearing what they are saying. Let them know that you understand their dilemma and why they are frustrated. Once they’ve calmed down, work together to solve the problem.
4. Avoid Gossiping
Gossiping can be all in good fun but remember, nothing good comes out of office gossips. If your co-worker is angry at a situation or is having an angry outburst, then it is suggested that you refrain from talking to another co-worker about it. Although, if the situation calls for it, talk to your manager or supervisor about it.
5. Take Responsibility For Your Actions
You can make mistakes too, remember that. Maybe your co-worker is angry because of something you did. If it is because of something you did, then own your mistake and take responsibility for your actions. Trying to ignore and not acknowledge your mistakes can cause chaos at the workplace. Take responsibility, apologize, and work out the issue with your co-worker.
6. Stand Up For Yourself
Many people try to avoid confrontation at the workplace and sometimes this reason can be the one your colleague sticks to. They know that you’ll avoid confrontation and that can make you an easy target for their anger. In such situations, it is important to take a stand and speak up. There is nothing wrong with gently letting them know that they are being unreasonable and directing their anger at the wrong person.
Anger isn’t necessarily a bad emotion but if someone is behaving in a threatening manner, then it is important to address it and let a supervisor know.
7. Walk Away
It might not look like but sometimes the best way to deal with an angry person is to simply walk away from the situation. Take a few minutes to calm yourself down and if needed, come back and re-address the situation. Nothing good comes out of arguing with someone who isn’t willing to listen.
8. Talk To HR
All of us have bad days and it is normal to get upset over little things but if someone is always angry and/or often having angry outbursts, then it is recommended that you reach out to HR. Some behaviors are simply unacceptable in the workplace. If you see someone crossing a line or behaving inappropriately, then immediately contact HR or your supervisor.
If you are facing anger issues, struggling with anger management, or experiencing anxiety over the thought of going to work, it is suggested that you speak to a professional. A therapist can help you identify the source of your anxiety and help you design effective coping tools to help you deal with an angry colleague.
“Never respond to an angry person with a fiery comeback, even if he deserves it…Don’t allow his anger to become your anger.” – Bohdi Sanders