Resources to Help with Workplace Anger Issues

by | Sep 30, 2023 | Anger Management, Human Resources, I-O Psychology, Workplace, Workplace Culture | 0 comments

With the high stress of some positions, anger may present itself in unhealthy ways. Anger as an emotion is normal and healthy for anyone. It occurs as a reaction to something, and no one plans to have a bout of anger. One can define anger as a strong feeling with various stages, including, in order of magnitude: frustration, annoyance, anger, and rage.

Anger in the Workplace

Widely known among human resources professionals and I-O psychologists, stress, interpersonal conflicts, and things going wrong outside of our control may all contribute to feelings of any level of anger. Some people, due to a variety of reasons, including personality, mental health, exhaustion, physical pain, or a myriad of other circumstances, may exhibit negative or aggressive behaviors.

Most find it difficult to manage anger when they have angry behavior directed at them. The best course of action does not include reacting in the same manner — this will cause the situation to escalate. As difficult as it may sound, one can choose to respond in a healthy way as the best thing to do when faced with anger from another. Healthy responses include:

  1. Removing yourself from a dangerous situation: a situation that challenges your physical or mental health requires you to distance yourself from the problem immediately. Do not engage if you encounter a dangerous situation. Do not risk your life, health, or mental wellbeing.
  2. Taking a breath and relaxing: The human response to aggression includes preparing for “fight or flight,” where the circulatory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems jump into overdrive. If the situation does not present an immediate danger to physical or mental health, take a breath deep into your belly, hold it for 5–10 seconds, and let it go. Repeat this until you feel more in control.
  3. Being assertive and not aggressive: If the angry behavior does not present danger, to stop the behavior, you can tell the person, “I do not like it when you take your anger out on me,” or, “When this happens, I feel like you are threatening me,” or, “The way I see it, you are not in control of your anger.”

One might find these difficult to remember in the moment of an anger situation. As with any skill, practice can help. Use a mirror or role play with a friend to practice your knowledge to gain skills and abilities in this discipline.

In other posts, we will discuss sources of anger, other ways to deal with one’s own anger or the anger of others, workplace aggression, and other related topics to help organizations maintain a safe workplace (DOL, 2016).

Resources for Workplace Anger Crises

Sometimes, workplace anger expressed or unmanaged by either oneself or by another calls for assistance. As social beings, we sometimes need help and support. The following resources may assist in abating a crisis situation with workplace anger (North American Learning Institute, 2023).

References

North American Learning Institute. (2023). Anger Management Class. https://courseforanger.com/

United States Department of Labor (DOL). (2016). Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) (29 USC §651 et seq.; 29 CFR Parts 1900 to 2400). https://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/elg/osha.htm

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