A surprising way to manage workplace anger
How you respond to an angry outburst in the workplace can make all the difference. A recent study found that even a single act of support or empathy toward an irate coworker can turn the situation around. In addition to diffusing the person’s anxiety, a constructive response can raise workplace morale and mutual respect.
Interestingly, researchers found that when negative action was taken, such as firing the worker, underlying organizational problems were ignored and left to fester. As counterintuitive as it may seem, meeting obstinate employees with a bit of empathy, may be the most productive way to respond. Sometimes, that may mean simply saying, “I recognize that you are upset, and I want to learn more about your feelings.”
Similar to Stephen M.R. Covey’s “trust but verify” statement when he discusses the power of trust in the workplace, you can only take compassionate responses so far. Workers who pose dangers to others or themselves must be handled appropriately to avoid further violence or harm to others.
Have you ever experienced the power of compassion when dealing with an angry employee?