Workplace Anger: Tips On How To Deal With An Angry Colleague

Last Update on June 20, 2022 : Published on March 8, 2021
Workplace Anger

Every office or workplace has that person – the angry colleague, the 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 angry coworkers can be a hardship and requires you to have a cool head. It is very easy to get upset with an angry 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 angry coworker is struggling with other issues or underlying mental health conditions. Anger, frustration, and irritability can be a symptom of many mental health disorders.

Also Read: Workplace Wellness | How to Deal with Stress on the Job

In this blog, we’ll explore some healthy ways you can deal with an angry colleague without creating chaos or escalating the tension even further.

How To Deal With Angry Colleagues At Workplace

1. Understand Their Perspective

Understand Their Perspective

When we are faced with an angry colleague, 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 colleague in the same negative way, it’s likely to cause chaos and more anger. When dealing with angry coworkers, 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.

Also Read: 7 Types of Negativity You Must Kill To Be Happier

3. Let Them Know That They Are Heard

Let Them Know That They Are Heard

Many times people are angry because they feel like they are not being heard. If your angry 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

Avoid Gossiping

Gossiping can be all in good fun but remember, nothing good comes out of office gossip. If your co-worker has anger issues 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 angry co-worker.

6. Stand Up For Yourself

Stand Up For Yourself

Many people try to avoid confrontation at the workplace and sometimes this reason can be the one your angry 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 colleague 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

Talk To HR

All of us have bad days and it is normal to get upset over little things but if your coworker has anger issues and/or often has 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.

Get Help

Get Help

If you are facing anger issues, angry coworkers, 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 angry coworkers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 : How do you handle a difficult colleague?

The best way to handle an angry coworker is to learn how to voice your thoughts calmly, learn their perspective, talk to your supervisor, keep your emotions under control, and limit your interactions with them. The important thing here is to keep calm and not let your emotions take over.

Q2: How do you deal with a rude aggressive coworker?

You can deal with a rude and angry colleague by:

  • Discussing their behavior with the rest of the team and making your feelings known
  • Considering the cause of their anger issues
  • Checking in with your other coworkers and see if they notice what you do
  • Walk away from your angry coworker and look at the situation more objectively
  • Limit your interactions with your angry colleague

Q3 : How do you tell a coworker to stop being rude?

You can tell a coworker to stop being rude by first and foremost, keeping your calm and not taking their words personally. You can call them out on their rudeness but be calm and take care of your body language. Your emotions can manifest in your body language so be careful of your body language and facial expressions.

Q4 : Should I confront a rude coworker?

If you confront a rude or angry coworker with aggression, you’ll only make the situation worse. You can confront them but make sure you do so with calm and be direct. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you.

I hope this article helped you understand how to deal with angry coworkers (or an angry colleague for that matter). Remember, anger never solves any problems. Be calm and respond by keeping your emotions under control.

Let us know how you deal with angry colleagues in the comments section below!

Take Care!

There is no harm in seeking help when you need it. You can look for online support here or you can write to us at info@calmsage.com for more helpful information on how to deal with anger and angry colleagues.

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

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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