Just about everyone is familiar with the topic of anger management in the abstract, psychological sense.
However, the topic takes on an entirely different spin in the business world, and many professionals today are unprepared to deal with it effectively. What most fail to realize is that not only does a professional have to control their own anger, but also the anger and negativity directed at them by other individuals in their environment, particularly from managers with a seemingly perpetual axe to grind, clients with a vendetta, or co-workers just out to cause trouble.
Failure to address these situations effectively can result in significant repercussions, up to and including job loss. Even worse, a person who ignores these issues can ultimately become the perpetual target of anger and unfair treatment by their peers and/or managers, resulting in high levels of stress and animosity within the environment. Quite simply, the corporate world is a dog-eat-dog environment and if you do not take proper action, no one will do it for you.
So what can be done? Brian Ray, business and management consultant and author of Revelations Incorporated, has identified a series of steps to deal with anger in the office.
Brian Ray is a business and management consultant with over 20 years of experience. He has worked with several of the largest companies in the world on multiple projects and assignments, from the basic project level to the executive level. These companies include General Motors, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Delphi, and several others. In addition to possessing a business degree with a major in Technology Management, he has continued his business education in various disciplines, IT applications, and business concepts.
Dealing with Workplace Confrontations
Click through for tips that can help you deal with workplace anger and conflict, as identified by Brian Ray, business and management consultant and author of Revelations Incorporated.
Stay Calm and Find Your Center
While some people practice yoga and/or meditation, external activities are not a necessity when it comes to calming the self. Every person already has it built into themselves. Quite simply, when faced with someone else’s anger in the workplace, whether it be in person or through email/messaging, the first thing to do is breathe. In particular, focus on the exhale as the exhaling of the breath is one of the body’s most potent, natural relaxation tools.
Focus on What Is Really Happening
Once a person has calmed themselves, they must determine the true cause of the encounter. Is there an actual issue that needs to be addressed, with the messenger just over-reacting? Or, is the person in question just being antagonistic, looking to drag someone down with bad behavior? These questions must be answered before proceeding with any action.
Next, it is time to defuse the situation, but also to let the other party know that their outburst will not be tolerated. Even if the issue in question is legitimate, a person still has the right to be treated as a human being, not as a punching bag.
In order to properly defuse a temperamental situation, it is necessary to move the existing tone/energy in a positive direction. This does require a bit of finesse (more on that in the next step). But first it must be said that while engaged in the action of defusing the situation, it is an absolute necessity that a person does not allow themselves to be dragged down into the mud by the machinations of someone else’s anger. If for some reason that does happen, then it becomes the responder who lost control (not the initial instigator), and who suddenly becomes the focus of the issue, which then puts the responder on the defensive, which is a very difficult place to be. This is the ultimate trap of the situation, so don’t get caught in it.
Also, remember that maintaining a high level of calm and focus requires practice plus patience, as does learning to finesse a written response. So be prepared for an occasional step backward, but don’t be disheartened when that occurs, as that is part of the learning process.
If it was determined that a legitimate issue was the cause of the scenario, then apologize for the error, and outline the steps that will be taken to resolve the problem. Just keep it moving in a positive direction.
If the instigator is just being antagonistic, then a different approach is warranted. For example, after receiving an inflammatory email or memo that does not contain a true issue, moving the energy to a positive tone can be done by starting the response with an expression of gratitude, such as – “Thank you for your suggestions, however…” – and then proceed from there.
Finish It (continued)
Either way, this is where the finesse comes into play. A person should tailor their response to fit the situation at hand, and no matter what, keep the response direct, non-confrontational, and pleasant. A person’s goal here should be to make their point(s), and finish the conversation on their terms.
Finally, a true professional should never be the one to start a fight, but they can always be the one to finish it, while amazing onlookers at the same time. Even better, among those impressed onlookers could be managers who have openings in their departments for a better paying job, and the good ones will always remember the highly skilled people who crossed their paths.