We’re grateful to be joined by Susan Shearouse, conflict resolution expert and author of Conflict 101: A Manager’s Guide to Solving Problems. In this post she examines a new angle on managing anger in the workplace — when it originates in someone else. -HC
You might not know what started it. Maybe it was something you said. Or something someone else said. Or something you didn’t say – and should have. It might have been a conversation that went from bad to worse. Maybe it’s been building up for a long time, and you are the last to know. Whatever it might be, it’s your problem now.
This person is suddenly in your face, angry at you and quite vocal about it. Everybody up and down the corridor knows that you are getting the full dose of their fury.
Or – and sometimes this is even harder to face – they won’t speak to you at all. They won’t return your calls any more. If you pass in the hall, they look the other way, even if the other way is nothing but a blank wall.
What can you do? How do you keep your cool? You can turn a potential argument into a discussion if you can hold on to your own sense of calm and keep a strong determination not to be sucked into their negative energy.
- First, know and understand your own responses to anger, your defensiveness, hot buttons. This is the first step in developing empathy for others. It also helps you to be aware of, and less likely to be caught by, your own triggers. If you can avoid responding in kind, you have gone a long way in changing direction. Continue reading