Understanding Employee Anger

Understanding Employee Anger: Tips for HR Professionals

Although controlling employee rage can be a difficult chore for HR and people leaders, it is crucial to creating a supportive and effective work environment. Employee rage can result in confrontations, poor productivity, and higher turnover rates if it is not addressed.

Yet, HR and people leaders may foster a climate of open communication, collaboration, and mutual respect that is advantageous to the entire organisation by comprehending the underlying reasons of employee rage and putting into place efficient ways for dealing with and preventing it. The importance of handling employee rage in a proactive and kind way will be covered in this article, along with some useful suggestions and tactics for doing so.

What is employee anger?

Employee anger refers to the negative emotion of anger that can arise in the workplace [1][2]. It can be a particularly negative emotion in the workplace, as it can affect the judgment of managers, subordinates, or co-workers [2]. Anger can be a part of the human condition and can be managed effectively[1].

However, it can also lead to physical or emotional harm to others, which is unacceptable[1]. When dealing with angry employees, it is important to understand the source of their anger and to address it in a constructive manner[3][4].

But what types of possible workplace conflict exist?

What are some common causes of employee anger in the workplace

There are several common causes of employee anger in the workplace. Job stress is a significant source of anger, and daily rates of anger, stress, worry, and sadness among American workers have been reported to be high[1].

Negative emotions such as anger can cloud judgment and make it difficult for people to see problems from another point of view[2]. Additionally, difficult conversations, personality clashes, and ego can all contribute to employee anger[6].

Dishonesty, negativity, and passive-aggressive behaviour can also lead to anger in the workplace[2][6]. As a manager, it is important to handle your own anger and prioritise the well-being of your team as you address the situation[6].

Preventing employee anger

How can managers prevent employee anger from escalating

Managers can prevent employee anger from escalating by taking the following steps:

Stabilising their own emotions before reacting to their employees’ anger[1]

In order to effectively manage their own emotions before responding to their employees’ fury, managers play a critical role in avoiding employee rage from boiling over. When workers express their emotions negatively, it’s normal for managers to feel upset or furious. But, retaliating hastily without first controlling one’s own emotions might have harmful consequences.

Managers can begin by taking a few deep breaths and concentrating on their thoughts in order to calm their emotions. This method can aid in managing managers’ emotions and give them a minute to reflect before responding.

Managers might also attempt to put themselves in their employees’ shoes and view the situation from their point of view. This strategy can assist managers in understanding their workers’ rage and locating its source. By doing this, managers may approach the matter more logically and offer the right kind of assistance to their staff, which can stop the anger from growing.


Conflict between employees

Minimising conflict before it escalates into something more serious[8]

Proactively addressing and resolving problems before they worsen is one of the best methods for managers to stop employee rage from building up. Fostering open lines of communication between staff and management is one approach to do this.

Managers can stop minor problems from ballooning into bigger ones by fostering an atmosphere where workers feel confident sharing their thoughts and concerns. Also, managers should encourage staff to voice concerns early on rather than waiting until they balloon into serious problems that are challenging to resolve.


Addressing feelings of anger, despair, or frustration among employees[9]

Employees’ feelings of rage, hopelessness, or dissatisfaction must be addressed in order to keep them from growing into more serious problems. Managers can effectively deal with these emotions by engaging in active listening. Giving the employee your undivided attention, letting them express their feelings, and reflecting back what you hear will help you fully get their point of view. This method helps reduce sentiments of resentment or hostility by making workers feel appreciated and heard.

Giving employees the tools they require to deal with stress and emotional problems is another efficient method for treating these feelings. Offering employee assistance programmes (EAPs), which give counselling and other support services to staff members who might be struggling with personal or professional challenges, is one way to do this. Also, managers can motivate staff to prioritise self-care activities like exercise, meditation, and quality time with loved ones and to take time off when necessary.


Manage anger by avoiding condescension and passive-aggressiveness[4]

Managers may find it difficult to deal with irate workers, but it’s critical to do so while maintaining empathy and understanding. Avoiding defensive or dismissive responses when dealing with irate employees is one way to prevent condescension and passive-aggressiveness. Instead, even if they disagree with the employee’s behaviour, supervisors should respect the employee’s emotions and validate them.

Using “I” remarks rather than “you” comments is another useful strategy for avoiding condescension and passive-aggressiveness. For instance, a manager could say, “I realise that you’re unhappy, but let’s work together to find a solution,” as opposed to, “You need to calm down.” With this strategy, the emphasis is shifted from the employee’s behaviour to a cooperative approach to problem-solving.

Furthermore, it’s critical for managers to refrain from blaming workers for their feelings or actions. Instead, managers ought to own up to their own deeds and reactions and seek out answers that deal with the root problems. This can be giving the worker the tools they require to manage their emotions or cooperating to resolve any problems or issues in a way that benefits both parties.

Establishing clear communication channels and protocols for issue escalation with angry employees[10]

Clear communication channels and mechanisms for issue escalation must be established. This will stop conflicts from growing into more serious problems. Creating a mechanism for reporting and tracking difficulties, like an online portal or a specific email address, is one useful strategy. This enables staff members to promptly and systematically report any concerns or difficulties they may have, ensuring that they are promptly and effectively addressed.

Managers should also create precise standards for handling and escalating issues. This can include outlining who is in charge of dealing with each category of issue, the timeframe for resolution, and the procedure for raising issues if they are not properly resolved. Managers may assist avoid confusion and guarantee that problems are dealt with consistently and successfully by creating clear protocols and conveying them to all staff.

Establishing open channels of communication and transparent protocols can also be accomplished by cultivating such a culture. This may entail periodically asking employees for their views, offering updates on issues or efforts, and promoting open communication among staff members. Managers may prevent misconceptions and guarantee that problems are resolved quickly and effectively by promoting an open communication culture.


Manage angry employees

How to manage employee anger in the workplace

Managing employee anger in the workplace can be challenging, but there are strategies and tips that can help. One approach is to understand the source of the anger and address it in a constructive manner[4][5]. It is also important to manage your own emotions and prioritise the well-being of your team as you handle the situation[4].

Providing employees with flexible work arrangements can also help reduce stress and anger[6]. Additionally, creating a shared space for all talking points, notes, and action items can keep everyone accountable[7]. Leaders can also build deeper trust by owning their part and considering whether they have any blind spots in their leadership approach that may be contributing to their team’s anger[5].

Overall, it is important to recognise that anger is a part of the human condition and can be managed effectively[7].

Dealing with aggressive employees


What is the number one top to deal with an angry employee showing verbal or physical aggression?

Prioritise the safety and wellbeing of all employees involved when dealing with an irate employee. Especially one who exhibits verbal or physical aggressiveness. Managers must act quickly. This way they  safeguard themselves, other workers, and the working environment when an employee is behaving aggressively or violently.

The first stage is to maintain your composure and refrain from reacting violently or aggressively. Supervisors should keep a safe distance and refrain from making physical contact with employees. In case the situation worsens, it’s also crucial to stay informed of any possible escape routes or exits.

The next step is to de-escalate the situation. Do this by listening to the employee’s concerns patiently and respectfully. All while simultaneously establishing firm boundaries and expectations for behaviour. To comprehend the employee’s point of view and to validate their feelings without endorsing their behaviour, managers should practise active listening. Offering the employee options for expressing their concerns or finding a workable solution to the problem may also be beneficial.

It could be necessary to involve police or security officials if the situation cannot be defused and the employee’s actions continue to constitute a threat to themselves or others. In any case, supervisors must record the incident and, if required, follow up with the employee to ensure that nothing resembling it happens again.



To foster a supportive and productive work environment, HR and people executives must effectively manage every angry employee. If negative emotions like rage are not dealt with problems occur. If anger management is not rolled out, they can result in confrontations, decreased productivity, and higher turnover rates.

It’s critical to comprehend the underlying reasons behind employee rage. Then take a proactive, considerate approach to dealing with it.

By managing their own emotions, avoiding conflict, and dealing with employee feelings of anger, despondency, or frustration. Managers can stop employee rage from building up. Managers can promote a culture of open communication, teamwork, and mutual respect by engaging in active listening and giving staff members the tools they need to deal with stress and emotional problems.

A workplace managing anger, not accepting physically aggressive behaviour, recognising potential anger issues in every disgruntled employee and handling all of this in a professional manner. That is a high performing workplace.


1. Managing Anger, Frustration, and Resentment on Your Team

2. Anger at Work: How Negative Emotions Cloud Judgment

3. How to Deal With Angry Employees | Psychology Today

4. How to Deal with Angry Employees as a Managers – Officevibe

5. Managing Anger, Frustration, and Resentment on Your Team

6. 5 Ways to Manage Angry Employees – Korn Ferry

7. How To Manage Anger in the Workplace: Strategies and Tips

8. How To Prevent Workplace Conflict From Escalating – Forbes

9. Don’t Be Silent: Expert Tips to Defuse Workplace Tensions – SHRM

10. Best Practices in Issue Escalation – HR Daily Advisor

11. Gallantium

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Nadun Baduge
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