Four levels of workplace anger
1 – Employee upset. Sensitive to criticism, and irritable. Displays “passive-aggressive” behaviors such as procrastination of work, expressing sarcasm, being late to meetings.
2 – Behavioral symptoms escalate. Angry remarks are expressed. Employee is openly critical of others and the company. More emotional, less rational. Absenteeism and tardiness is common.
3 – Escalating physical, emotional and psychological arousal. Raising voice, throwing things about, slam door, threats.
4 – Assaultive behavior and or destruction of property.
Anger management training for supervisors and managers can help them as individuals and give them better skills to manage difficult employees, before the situation rises to a Level 4 crisis.
Key management strategies:
Strategy 1– Know your resources
Company resources include EAP (employee referral program), and HR (human resources). Community resources include psychologists, substance abuse programs, and anger management programs.
Strategy 2 – Assertive Communication
This means that you express your thoughts, feelings and opinions directly in an honest, open, straightforward and sincere manner. It also involves learning to actively listen to employees and being aware of non-verbal communication that goes beyond his or her words.
Strategy 3 – Set Limits
When you set limits with others in the workplace both parties know what they can expect from each other. When you clarify individual expectations, you avoid misunderstandings that can occur and thus avoid potential conflicts. For example, instead of asking support staff, “will you get this report to me as soon as possible?”, verbalize a specific time you need it.
Strategy 4 – Establish Consequences
In the real-world workplace, you may encounter conflicts with employees who are uncooperative or are unwilling to comply with the rules or policies of your company. As a manger, you may have to take an action that states to the employee the likely outcome of continuing problematic behavior.
Be sure to deliver consequences so they don’t sound like “threats,” but still get the message across.