Workplace anger – how to deal with changing standards

Bill sat in anger management class and lamented how the world had changed. He was an oil man with 30 years experience, but was in deep trouble with his employer because he yelled at employees. Asked why, he said “because they don’t work or they don’t do it right.” He continued, “I feel like a dinosaur in my job- the way I talk to employees for thirty years doesn’t work anymore.”

He is right. Standards of behavior have change drastically in the workplace regarding anger and how to express it. People are much more sensitive to how they are being treated. Many supervisors or managers are getting into trouble, even though they are just doing what they have always done, and talking to “lazy” or “incompentent” employees like they always have.

The answer is to be more sensitive to how employees and co-workers are perceiving your behavior. That is the key. For instance, what you see as simply talking loudly so they can hear you may be seen as yelling at them. Trying to correct their work behavior my be seen by them as harrassment, if not done correctly.

As we explained to Bill, the effective supervisor learns to communicate in ways that are not seen by employees or co-workers as disrespectful, demeaning, or motivated by personal dislike for the person. Often this means doing what you have to do as a manager, but not appearing angry about it.

Being more aware of how you are being seen by others can go a long way toward making you more effective, increasing productivity in employees, and saving you from disciplinary actions.