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How to Resist Temper Blow-Ups at Your Workplace Team

Updated on February 4, 2013
ChrisMcDade8 profile image

Christine McDade is a Human Resources professional (PHR & SHRM-CP) with over 18 years in the public sector.

Christine McDade is an experienced human resources manager.

Holding meetings with team members to discuss issues is a more productive means for sorting through problems.
Holding meetings with team members to discuss issues is a more productive means for sorting through problems. | Source

From time to time, supervisors may find themselves in the position of wanting to go nuclear by way of a blow up at their team members. It might be over a small issue that is really only the tip of the iceberg of a bigger problem or issue. In fact, the supervisor might have been suppressing some concerns over time that finally are at the point of some sort of emotional nuclear explosion. Since the fallout from an emotional blow-up can be disastrous, it is important for supervisors to stop, take a breath and analyze the situation for a better solution that will not land them in trouble.

Stop, Think and Act

Before losing their cool, a supervisor should stop and reconsider how to handle a situation that has him/her wanting to blow-up at the work team. Since the urge to blow-up at the members of the team is probably due to some major workplace concern, it will behoove the supervisor to stop and examine the situation carefully to determine a viable solution. Supervisors might want to consider other productive options that incorporate the participation of the team members. Since the team members probably contributed to or caused the troublesome issue, it makes perfect sense to include them in coming up with a solution.

When the moment gets heated, an immediate departure from thte workplace for a change of scenery might be a good change.  Employees may choose to take a walk outside to get some fresh air.
When the moment gets heated, an immediate departure from thte workplace for a change of scenery might be a good change. Employees may choose to take a walk outside to get some fresh air. | Source

Options for Solving Problems Without Blowing-up

There are several ways to deal with problems in the workplace without blowing up with one another. Consider the following options:

  • Remove yourself from the situation. Wise supervisors know when to step away from an explosive situation. One option for getting away is to go on a quick walk outside of the office. Another way to step away briefly is to have lunch at a restaurant or at a park. A change of scenery till one can get a fresh perspective can be a very helpful to the supervisor's attitude and outlook on the situation.
  • Sleep on it. Instead of just taking the emotions out on the team members immediately, it may be in the supervisor's best interest to just wait a day to address the situation. Sleeping on it may allow for enough time to process the situation for a "cooler" approach to addressing the problems with the team members. A calm, professional approach will always be received more favorably by the team members over a hostile, ill-tempered attitude that only serves as a turn off or form of intimidation.
  • Schedule a mandatory meeting for the team. In order to assemble the team members together to gain insight to the problem, a mandatory meeting should be scheduled for all team members. Since the supervisor may still be seeing red about the problem, it may be better to schedule a meeting for the following day. A day to think and process the issue may bring a calmer, more constructive solution. During this structured get-together, team members can constructively give criticism and offer productive discourse for coming up with ideas and new resolutions. It will also be prudent to figure a plan for making sure the problem never happens again.
  • Talk to a neutral party. Instead of having a knee-jerk reaction to a problem, a supervisor may decide to speak to someone who is not related to the team for his/her advice. A neutral outlook on the problem can provide new ideas and an unbiased opinion on the situation.
  • Take a break from the issue and focus on other projects. As a short-term solution, supervisors may consider a brief hiatus from the matter by simply working on other tasks. Concentrating on other matters temporarily can be a good distraction.
  • Close the door to the office and take some time for reflection. A simple opportunity to shut out the team members and the issue for a moment can be experienced by closing the door to the office for some privacy and quiet time. Thinking back to other difficult situations that brought on the same negative emotions and desire to blow-up may offer solutions that worked in the past. When the mind is affected by anger and other negative emotions, the clarity that is required to come up with a resolve for a problem is lost. Supervisors who allow for the time to decompress and wind down from a volatile situation will likely come up with a sound solution that can be shared later with the team members.


Do whatever is necessary to prevent a blow-up.

The options for avoiding a blow-up at a workplace team are truly endless. Depending on the supervisor and the problem that led to desire to blow-up in the first place, supervisors can take steps to prevent such an unpleasant occurrence from happening. The most important thing to remember is that avoidance is crucial to maintain a productive workplace that is free from hostile or intimidating verbal attacks. Since supervisors would not approve of other team members acting inappropriately in the way of a blow-up, the supervisor should choose whatever actions are necessary to stop their own emotions from causing disharmony in the workplace. As the leader of the team, a supervisor must set the example of how to handle pressure with professionalism and a "cool" head.

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    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Good points you have made. I cannot understand why people can no longer control their tempers.

      It is happening more and more. Not just in the workplace but in the homes on the streets and too much road rage too.

    • ChrisMcDade8 profile image
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      Christine McDade 4 years ago from Southwest Florida

      Thanks Eileen. You are correct in your assessment of tempers, not just in the workplace, but in our everyday worlds. I have to stop, too, and just take a break before getting upset over trivial things that I have no control to change. A traffic jam that makes me late to an event, a spill that makes me change clothes at the last minute, and other unexpected happenings can try my patience. It is easy to see how losing your temper can affect an outlook on the entire day. Thank you for your comments.

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