IT Best Practices

4 Essentials for Surviving the Angry Office

The corporate world can be described as “challenging,” a “dog-eat-dog world” – but what about just plain angry? Revelations Incorporated author Brian Ray has four essential survival tactics to share in an article for IT Business Edge. Not just any anger expert, Ray addresses anger in the workplace, a realm where abusive managers, vindictive clients, and hooligan coworkers add pressure to daily demands, making work for some a living hell.

#1 Just Breath

You don’t have to practice yoga or meditation to combat anger in the workplace. The physical response to an angry person is to become tense and emotional. These are physical responses that require a counter response in the form of controlled, relaxed breathing. Inhale. Exhale. That should put you in command of your physical state. Now it’s time to control your mental state.

#2 Size Up the Situation

As a physically calm person, it should be much easier to see the situation in a clear and dispassionate manner. Taking away your own emotional component is a way of taking yourself out of the situation. Was it something I said, or is this person truly out of line? What kind of steps should I take to diffuse this situation?

#3 Positive but Firm

Before you attempt to diffuse the situation, Ray has some important advice to share:

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.

#4 Finish It

If you committed a legitimate error, own it. Apologize without hand-waving and move directly to resolution mode. However, if the person seems to be taking something out on you, you can counter by being very direct (but pleasant). Without being confrontational, finish the interaction by making your point, and end on your terms. Hopefully a third party will bear witness to your skill and finesse at handling anger in the workplace.

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