off the handle - how to calm someone down

Off the Handle – How to Calm Down an Angry Employee

Off the Handle

What do you do when an employee gets angry and flies off the handle?  Workplace anger can cause lots of problems, including violence, sagging morale, low productivity, and more. Do you ask the angry employ to get a grip on himself and calm down?  Give him a chance to vent his anger?  Offer to intervene to help with whatever has upset him?  We’ll explore 3 pathways and show you the best approach.  Then when you need to know how to calm someone down at work, you’ll be handle the situation impressively.

The Situation

You are head of product development for an aluminum products firm. Your team has been working on a new type of carport and patio cover. You assigned one of your direct reports, Michael, to gather data about past customers’ buying behavior for similar products.

Angry Coworker

When you ask if he has the stats, Michael shoots back “Not yet! I know we need this information on Wednesday, but Mindy from Marketing was supposed to get me the numbers. She keeps making excuses. She’s driving me crazy!”

You try to be reassuring, telling Michael you know he can do it, but he becomes more intense. “That’s easy for you to say! My hands are tied. I’m not Mindy’s boss, so what can I do!?”

Calming Someone Down

You’re puzzled. You thought you were showing confidence in Michael, but it seemed to make things worse. Still, you can’t let Michael off the hook for this information.

Which of the following would be the best approach to keep salvage this conversation and make it productive?

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