Anger displayed in the work place can come in many forms. Whether you are a boss who is angry at a worker, a colleague who is annoyed at your boss, or a worker who is furious at a peer, there is an appropriate method of dealing with anger in each situation. Having personally been in each of these circumstances, I have realised that it is essential that we acknowledge and respond to conflict in the workplace; however the method of doing so will depend on the professional relationships unique to each work place.
When your boss is angry at you
Your response to an angry colleague will alter depending on their role in the workplace. If your boss becomes angry at you, it needs to be determined whether his/her anger is abusive or is a result of inappropriate behaviour from yourself. Bullying in the workplace is never okay, however if your boss often displays anger there may be little that you can do in an attempt to improve the situation at your place of employment.
The first action in any disintegrating relationship should be to address the issue with the other person; in this case your boss. There is a strong chance that you are not in a position to address this matter with your boss, and they may not care for your opinion. If this is the case, you need to ensure your own personal safety and wellbeing as a number one priority. This may mean that you need to look for other employment.
Depending on the size of the company you work for, there will be grievance procedures which help to solve these conflicts. However, if the company is small and the boss is the owner/director, you are unlikely to have an avenue to follow. You always have the choice and right to notify work safe, but even when you choose to go down this path, you need to ensure your wellbeing and safety.
When you have conflict with a colleague who is of an equal or lower position than you
In trying to understand why anger is being displayed, it needs to be determined whether the person is angry as a result of a specific incident with you, or if they are simply an angry person for what appears to be no apparent reason. If a colleague is angry at you about a specific incident, it is likely a one on one conversation in a calm, professional manner will resolve the situation. This will provide both people with the understanding and opportunity to apologise for a one off incident.
If a colleague is often angry, it is likely the anger is an unhealthy tool they use to get their point across, to make their presence felt, and to feel powerful. As stated previously, the ideal strategy is to discuss the behaviour with the colleague. There is a slight chance that the angry colleague is unaware of their behaviour and following a discussion with them, they will change. The other alternative is that the person won’t be prepared to listen to you. At this point grievance procedures for your company should be implemented.
In your work place, grievance procedures will be similar to the following:
- Speak with colleague
- If no resolution, speak to your manager
- The manager is likely to involve HR If they want too. A number of possible scenarios may follow:
- The Manager or HR will provide a form of mediation with you and your colleague.
- The situation is managed through performance in which case it is unlikely you will know the outcome; however you can certainly hope to see a change in behaviour.
- If you do not agree with the outcome, you can either speak to your manager’s manager or report the incident to work safe.
In all situations with people, it is best to understand that we cannot change them, we can only change the way we respond to them. For example, if person A is angry at Person B, B is unable to change A. B can only change the way they respond to A.
If you feel you are on the receiving end of anger from people, seeking professional support can provide you with strategies so you can respond in a healthier and safer way.
When you are the angry person
The previous situations have dealt with being the recipient of anger. This section will look at the responsibility of the angry person.
Whether you are in leadership/management or a peer to the people you get angry with, you need to take responsibility for your actions. It is highly likely that you feel justified in your actions and comments; however displaying anger at others shows a lack of respect, professionalism, and undermines the value of other people
If you are in leadership or management and you regularly display anger, it is highly likely that your team are under performing and you have a high staff turnover rate; this will be costing you money. By being prepared to review your behaviour and implement different strategies for dealing with stress and pressure, you will not only save yourself work and money, is is quite possible you will have a much happier and productive team.
If you display anger at your colleagues, it is likely you will be limiting your career options. People who regularly display anger at work are identified as bullies and this label can have a detrimental effect not only on their career, but on their sense of self-worth.
As an individual you may enjoy getting angry, however I expect that deep down you are quite embarrassed about this behaviour; you my even feel powerless to control your angry outbursts. Whatever the reason you use anger at work; it can have a detrimental impact on yourself and the people you work with.
Anger is something that can be managed. By seeking professional support, your triggers for anger can be identified and strategies implemented so that you control your anger rather than it controlling you.
If you are experiencing anger at work or are feeling the effects of a colleagues anger and need support then here’s what you need to do: contact Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how Watersedgecounselling can best help you or press book now to book on our online diary.