A healthy working environment is crucial for the success of businesses, and an angry employee can be a symptom of sickness When a working environment is favorable, employees can quickly excel according to their full potential. The reason is that employees play the critical role of assisting and supporting top managers and executives to help the company achieve its short and long-term objectives. Therefore, as a manager, leader, or business owner, you must always ensure your employees are motivated enough to stay committed to your organization’s culture.
However, you can’t always control the emotions of all your employees. Sometimes, your employees may be dissatisfied, but how well you handle the situation could change the outcome. Of course, angry employees are bad for your business, and it doesn’t matter if the cause of their anger is work-related or personal. And failing to address the situation could result in unethical behaviors that could affect several aspects of your business, including its reputation and level of productivity.
Leaders, therefore, need to have a certain level of emotional intelligence to handle a suddenly angry employee. While different businesses have policies and best practices when dealing with angry employees, these tips can apply to most organizations, companies, and business settings.
- Acknowledge their feelings
The first step in dealing with a suddenly angry employee is to acknowledge his feelings and allow him to be, even if the cause of anger does not make sense to you. Realize that employees come from different cultural backgrounds, have different upbringings, and have different ways of handling emotions. So instead of just downplaying the feelings of an angry employee, you should make him feel like his voice has been heard. But this does not mean you should condone unacceptable behaviors like shouting, cursing, and other displays of aggression.
- Let them express themselves.
Letting an angry employee vent his anger can be therapeutic. This can make him realize how much you care about his feelings. The truth is that some angry employees will express themselves to you, not because they expect you to provide an instant solution to their problems, but simply because they want to feel relieved enough to continue with their day’s job. So the best you can do is to listen carefully to them. However, consider your safety while allowing the angry employee to express himself. For example, do not let an angry employee threaten, brutalize, or shout at you in a manner that compromises your workplace culture.
- Look at things from their perspective.
Most managers are so used to being objective and protecting the interest of their organizations that it can be so difficult for them to look at situations from the employees’ perspectives. So instead of using your logic, try to put yourself in an angry employee’s position and imagine how you would feel if the same thing happened to you. This could help you sympathize with the employee without sounding condescending.
- Thank them for their feedback
It’s crucial to thank the angry employee after listening to their problems. Consider all they said as constructive criticism, even if you find it damaging your ego. Realize that every complaint you receive from an angry employee could be the perfect opportunity to make improvements for the betterment of the organization. It will help if you think positively, as it takes a lot of courage for employees to express their feelings to their bosses or superiors openly.
- Communicate what they expressed back to them.
According to HR professionals, it is of the utmost importance to repeat the problem to the employee to ensure that you both have communicated effectively. Tell him a summary of your understanding and ask if that is correct. Remember that some people find it hard to be coherent with their explanations at the peak of angry emotions. So it would help if you summarize all you understood to him to be sure you both are on the same page. After all, you can only solve a problem if you have understood it.
- Apologize to them
It will also help if you apologize for the frustration the angry employee could be going through. Even if you are not responsible for their anger, apologizing will make them realize how much you care about their feelings. In addition, such an apology is also proof that you have offered a listening ear to them. However, you must ensure that your apology is sincere and not condescending. An insincere apology might instead end up provoking more anger.
- Take actionable step
After listening and apologizing to the angry employee, you need to take actionable steps to ensure the problem is solved and things like that will not repeat. All your actions should, however, aim to improve your organization’s culture and work environment. For example, some actionable steps could include firing the person responsible for the anger, promoting or demoting some employees, modifying the organization’s policies, scheduling a meeting with the problematic team, or buying new equipment. Even if you cannot take immediate action, it will help if you start drafting down your plan of action.
- Follow up with the angry employee later.
After taking actionable steps to solve the problem, make it a duty to follow up with the employee later to find out how they are fairing. There is no specific timeline for follow-up, as it could be a week later, months later, or even one year later, depending on the severity of the matter. However, holding such private meetings will make the employee realize how much you care about their well-being, making them respect his management more.