Use Your Assertiveness to Calm Anger
You can’t avoid it. There will be times when you don’t agree with a co-worker. In some cases, those conflicts turn to anger. When you attempt to deal with a hostile colleague, be mindful that the other person’s self-esteem could be quite low. Try not to argue, even when it is apparent that is what the other person seeks. The challenge here may be to prevent an exchange of views from escalating into anger.
Here are six tips to guide your behavior during a difficult situation
1 – Start on a Positive Note
- For example: “I want to let you know how I am feeling because I believe that it will clear the air between us.”
- Share an appreciation, but be certain you are sincere. “Over the past six months, I have enjoyed working with you. I have noticed, however, that lately …”
2 – Be Direct
- Use the first person: “I’m feeling angry/irritated/annoyed.”
- Don’t use distant, third-person statements and generalizations, such as “When people …” or “It can be annoying when …”
- Use “I” messages.
3 – Define How Angry You Are
- This can range from, “I’ve been getting slightly irritated,” to, “My fury is reaching the boiling point.”
- Providing this information often helps the other person listen more carefully.
- If you merely state, “I am angry with you,” you unnecessarily may either freeze the other person with fear or provoke him/her into an aggressive and defensive behavior.
4 – Don’t Blame Anyone for Making You Angry
- Remember your anger might be the other person’s pleasure!
- No one has the power to make us feel angry. We get angry. So instead of saying, “You make me mad,” say, “I get mad when you…”
5 – Admit Your Share of Responsibility
- Tell the other person what you believe is your part in the situation.
- “I believe I should have said something earlier.”
- “I am the kind of person who has very high standards.”
- “I may be overreacting because I am managing a lot of deadlines.”
6 – Avoid Self-Put Downs That May Invite Criticism or Provoke More Anger
Don’t say things like:
- “I know that I can be a nag…”
- “I’m over-sensitive.”
- “I’m too soft.”
- “You’ll probably yell at me when I tell you…”
You could be putting unhelpful ideas into otherwise quite friendly minds!
Talk about these tips with others. Modify the tips to work for you and match the words to your own style of speaking. Discuss them with your colleagues to reinforce your ability to remember the tips and use them when you need do.