Dealing with anger in the workplace - Part 1By Bianca Keys | Mar 23, 12 09:13 AM
Learn some tips for effective for dealing with anger in the workplace
Dealing with someone who is in the throes of anger and frustration is not at the top of my “Favourite Things” list. In fact, if there were someone out there that ranks this task at the top of their own list then I would like to meet that person and make a study of them!
Interestingly, as a mediator and conflict management coach, I have chosen a career that sees me constantly engaged in other people’s battles; whilst I find it a challenge to deal with my own. It is much simpler to help someone else - It's helping yourself that can be hard.
We each react to anger in a variety of ways. In the past, we may have run for our lives or rolled up our sleeves ready to fight back. We may have attempted to defer the issue or even deny that there is a problem in the first place. We may have put the kettle on and called “time out” in an effort to calm the situation. Perhaps we have cried, deflected, joined in or if on the telephone – hung up.
Different reactions to anger each have their place depending on the situation, degree of potential harm, the relationship or the possibility of a future relationship. However, there is one reaction that experience in dispute resolution has taught me does nothing to assist ... denial. Denial is a reaction that just doesn't cut it. If one person has a problem, then there is evidently a problem and however it is addressed– it needs to be addressed.
In the context of the business world there are a number of occasions in which anger may bubble, fester and explode. For front-line battle staff (those employed in complaints handling roles) the fuel of frustration is burning in front of them each day. This poses a challenge for both the employee and the employer. For the employee there is potential for chronic stress to develop. For the employer this equates to low morale in the workplace, impacts on the amount of sick and stress leave taken and can show eventualities in a high level of staff turnover. This in turn creates change, disruption and additional time spent on recruitment, training and supervision, while the cycle continues until the same happens again.
As an employer (or a pro-active employee) you can break this cycle and equip staff with the tools necessary to manage anger when it is thrown across their paths.
Tune in next week for Part two. Bianca will lay out some great guidelines for complaint handling.
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Bianca Keys is from The Accord Group Australia.