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CultureNovember 22, 2016
Australian workplaces are constantly changing to keep up with market demands, which unfortunately can be a breeding ground for stress and frustration. As an employer it is highly likely that at some point in your career you will have the unpleasant and challenging task of dealing with an angry employee.
Today it is not generally accepted to ‘blow a fuse’ at work, so an angry employee may express their unhappiness through less obvious ways such as heavy sarcasm or hostile glances. As an employer, you need to know how to appropriately deal with an angry employee, before their negativity spreads and affects the rest of your workplace.
Do not procrastinate.
If you notice your employee is acting out of character, do not wait for them to either come to you or to have a blow up. The best time to address an employee who appears unhappy, was yesterday. The longer you wait to have a conversation with the angry employee, the longer you are allowing bad feelings to fester.
Similarly, if an employee approaches you with concerns do not turn them away. This will reflect poorly on your management, by giving the impression the employee is burdening you or wasting your time. Ensure you have a confidential conversation with your employee, and follow up as required.
Listen and assess.
Do not naturally assume that you know what has caused your employee to be angry. Yes, it may be due to obvious reasons, or it may be something that is occurring outside of the workplace. Often when employers assume they know the root of the problem, they go about trying to solve it the wrong way.
Before you jump to conclusions and make assumptions, stop and assess the situation. The employee may be unhappy with their current job status, be overworked or potentially have had a conflict with another team member. If the reason for their unhappiness is related to your workplace, then it is best practice to gather all the facts before making a decision on how to act.
However, if it is something happening in the employee’s personal life which is causing their negativity, this does not necessarily mean it is not your problem. An employee may be going through a hard time at home, but not have enough annual leave accrued to take time off to deal with it. By having a conversation with your employee, you can work together to find an acceptable solution.
One key thing that will never make an angry employee stop being angry is if their manager is inconsistent. This can range from disciplining one employee for acting a certain way, and then letting the behaviour slide in another employee. The same goes for praise and recognition. Managers must ensure they are consistently rewarding or pulling up employees who are engaging in similar behaviour, be it good or bad.
Do not let your temper interfere, or become defensive.
We all know that that when we are struggling with something, the worst thing in the world is when we voice our concerns and have them rebuffed in a negative way.
If your employee approached you, and wants to share what is on their mind ensure that you remain calm and do not raise your voice, or become defensive. Yes, the employee may be voicing an concern about your management but it is important that you do not take this personally, but rather remove yourself from the situation and try to remain professional.
Remember that it takes time.
An angry employee is not going to miraculously recover overnight. As business professionals all managers want a team of happy, productive employees but things are rarely rectified immediately.
Remember that it will more often than not take more than one meeting with an angry employee to remedy the cause of their unhappiness and boost their morale. Continue to check in with your employee to see how they are tracking, to assess if they require further assistance.
Document and keep records.
Unfortunately there will be times where your efforts to resolve your angry employee’s issue does not improve their behaviour or performance. In these instances, it is important to ensure that you keep records of any warnings or actions taken against the employee.
Managing employees is a difficult aspect of being an employer. As Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist Employsure can assist in regard to your employment obligations. Call us today on 1300 651 415.