Anger is a natural emotion and can happen anywhere, whether it’s on the street, at home or at work. However, it is an essential task to diffuse anger in order to avoid any irreparable damage that may occur in the workplace. This anger could be directed towards other employees, or an employee could be angry at themselves. To ensure minimum damage, its best to address the anger and use emotional intelligence techniques to dilute the situation.
According to the Mental Health’s Organisation’s Boiling Point report, workplace anger is a regular occurance with 65% of people experiencing workplace rage, and 45% of people reported losing their temper whilst at work on a regular basis. Workplaces can be seen as hubs of stress and tension, which could result in angry employees and an overall negative working environment. Therefore, to avoid angry feelings and to ensure a positive environment, make sure to address and discuss any issues with your team. It is perfectly normal and acceptable to be angry and frustrated from time to time, however it needs to be contained. Below are some helpful ways in which you can diffuse anger, if it occurs in your workplace.
Acknowledge the problem
The first thing to do when conflict occurs is to acknowledge and address it and monitor the anger levels, especially if you are involved. Overlooking anger or ignoring the source of it could be detrimental to your surrounding environment and even your health for example increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Therefore, you must ensure that your workplace is equipped to deal with any bursts of anger. The workplace environment can get tense and stressful, however unchecked anger can make this temporary tense environment a permanent one. It is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that all issues are dealt with accordingly and that the staff feel safe and happy.
Talking and having sincere conversations can diffuse heated situations almost immediately. From your point of view, if you start to experience raised levels of anger whilst communicating with an employee, you need to monitor your anger levels. If your anger continues to rise you may need to consider removing yourself from the situation. Anger can lead to people saying things that are possibly hurtful and this could make the situation worse, as once something is said it can’t be taken back. Therefore, if you feel the situation is heading further downhill and could become nasty – stop the conversation.
On the other hand, if you are trying to diffuse anger between two employees, then you must encourage discussion once said employees are in a calm state of mind. Addressing the issue in a calm and collected manor is much more productive than having an argument, then letting the problems reside in the back of your mind. You are more likely to resolve issues through talking in a calm manner.
Then comes action
In tense situations your basic instinct is to fight or flight, sometimes it may be the best idea to adopt the idea of flight and remove yourself from the situation. Although this will not resolve the issues at hand, it will give all parties involved the space and time they need to calm down. Once removed from that environment you can gather your thoughts and make more rational decisions.
If you are angry at a situation, whether it involves your colleagues, boss or a client, allow yourself to walk away. Once removed, you could go for a walk and get some fresh air, to allow yourself to get back to a more level headed state. If the situation was between two others, you could advise they do the same.
Empathy and understanding
Everyone will lose their temper from time to time, it’s natural. However, you need to adopt skills such as empathy and understanding to help deal with it. If you are involved in a conflict with a colleague, make an effort to understand their point of view and try to empathise with them. Trying to see the problem from their perspective and really trying to understand where they are coming from, could help resolve the issue effectively as it shows you’re open to others opinion and not just your own. This could make the other parties feel more valued, which inevitably helps ease the situation.
Alternatively, if you are upset or angry about something that a colleague or employee has done or said, approach them calmly and privately. The way you approach a person will determine the result of the conversation. If you walk in and are visibly frustrated or angry, then the other party will mirror your body language and tone, which will only make the situation worse and you are no further forward to resolving the issues.
It’s important to remember that your workplace should be somewhere you feel safe and comfortable, and if that’s not the case then perhaps you need to have a conversation with those around you. Also keep in mind that you are a professional in a professional setting, and with that comes certain expectations, therefore you must keep your emotions in check. Miscommunication is usually the most common source of conflict and only through sincere and open conversation can you voice the issues before they become major problems.