Handling angry employees is not a very pleasant experience, but it is very crucial to handle them calmly and defuse the situation. While there are plenty of reasons for employees’ aggression, be it a toxic work environment or a disagreement with a colleague, what matters is how a manager or an HR professional handles it without sabotaging the relationship with them.
Employees have been through a lot in the last two years; extended working hours, extreme burnout, and increased healthcare responsibilities of family members. In such a scenario, it is important for managers to know how to deal with angry employees.
Though every organisation has their own policies and procedures to handle situations, some tactics can be extremely helpful in keeping things under control.
This article will provide you with some tips on how to deal with angry employees in a professional manner.
How To Deal With Angry Employees As A Manager
Here are 8 tips on how to deal with angry employees as a manager. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use them!
1. Remain calm and professional
Usually managers also tend to lose their cool when the employees behave in an irate manner. But managers cannot lose their cool and behave irrationally. Staff at the workplace observes how the managers handle the anger directed at them and if the manager loses his cool, it might have an unpleasant effect on the entire workplace.
Avoid yelling and swearing. Remain calm and deal with the situation like a professional.
2. Do not quote company policies
When people are angry they do not care about the policies. Telling them that their issue will not be solved because it is against the company policy just worsens the situation instead of helping it.
Try to establish an agreement about something. Find something that you both can agree on, for example, “William, I think we can agree that we both want this project to be done correctly by the month-end. Do you agree?”
3. Show your concern
Stay calm and listen to them. Show your concern and tell them that you will do your best to solve the problem that they face. Don’t act like you don’t care for their concerns.
Do not sympathize their anger but assure them that their concern will be solved as soon as possible.
4. Document the behaviour
Document the behavior of your employee. In the document, describe the incident where the employee displayed anger and explain why the employee’s behavior was inappropriate. Also observe and document the impact on their co-workers.
5. Thank Employee for Their Feedback
Employee feedback is an opportunity for an organisation to make changes. Even though it can be a bit hard to thank an employee for their negative feedback, it is important to show them that their feedback is taken into consideration. You can use it in a constructive manner to fine tune the processes.
6. Setup a meeting
Dealing with angry employees is a manager’s nightmare. Sometimes employees might not always display anger aggressively, but you can see it all through their body language like rolling eyes, sighs etc.
7. Set a Follow Up Meeting
If there are frequent employee outbursts, then it must be taken into consideration and a follow up plan should be set up to understand their concerns. Moreover, if you promised something to the employee in the last meeting, then it is crucial to follow up with them. It also reinforces their trust in the employer.
8. Prepare for Further Action
Sometimes it can get really tough to deal with employees with behavioural issues. Managers or HR professionals often have to face employees with anger issues, and even after guiding them or helping them loosen up, the situation does not change. In such cases, it becomes important to terminate them for the good of the team.
Toxicity spreads fast, and therefore, to save other team members from facing trouble, it is sometimes useful to let go of toxic employees.
Talk to the employee behind closed doors about the inappropriate behavior. Show them what you’ve documented and explain them the impact of their inappropriate behavior on their co-workers. Advise them that consequences might be ghastly if such behavior is observed from their side again.
Aaron Adams is an advisor for Engagedly, where he develops and implements strategic talent solutions that help support and drive the organization’s talent and business strategies. He holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Wayne State University and has worked as a Right Management consultant and an OD consultant for a Fortune 20 Company. Currently, he leads Engagedly Teams responsible for onboarding, training, and consulting services.