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Handling angry people

Updated on July 13, 2011

Handling angry people

When you are on a committee or work with hostile people it can be very stressful, very emotional and very draining. These people have issues that are probably not related to you or your way of doing things, they just seem angry at the world.

I have worked closely with several of those people, however one in particular on a current committee. They berate others to make them or their point look good, is always in the right in their mind and will never listen to constructive criticism even if it’s done in a kind and thoughtful way. These people can push you to the point of no return and instead of blowing up and causing a major scream fest, here are some tactics to use.

  1. Walk away from the situation til you cool off helping to diffuse the other person also. Return with a cool head and ask that consideration of others feelings before speaking and request that chairman or supervisor take charge and gain control. If you are that person remind the group that it operates under Roberts Rules of Order and no outbursts or berating comments will be tolerated from either party engaged in the altercation.
  2. When you are by yourself cooling off, keep reminding yourself that it is not you as a person or the office you hold they are angry at, it is the situation. Please don’t take it personally as an assault on your character. It is theirs that is flawed.
  3. Say a prayer – this always helps in situations when you are about to lose control. The good Lord always gives strength to endure and hopefully say the right thing to diffuse the situation. Pray for strength to control you temper and tongue and to have a Christian attitude toward the other person.
  4. Ask if the meeting can be postponed til another time, allowing tempers to cool off and get facts in order. Make sure facts are from reliable sources to back your point. This will enforce your situation and the other party is probably just ranting with no back-up anyway.
  5. Think before you speak – words cannot be taken back and can cause very hard feelings. Think long and hard before you blurt something out that would require an apology. Also it can make you look no better than the other person. Take a higher road and others will back you because they feel you are in control.
  6. Remind that person that you are not attacking them personally that you are merely wanting what is best for all concerned in a soft low but firm tone.
  7. Find out if there are any health problems that could be causing this person to act in such a hateful manner. This may be totally out of character for that person and family should be alerted to the fact regarding temper outbursts. This could be to their benefit before an outburst occurs with the wrong person injury or worse occurs.
  8. Use a tape recorder, people are less likely to blow up if it is recorded. They don’t have to know what you are going to do with the tape, even if it is just there for a determent. If not you have it all on tape as proof of the allegations you are presenting.
  9. If all else fails take a nerve pill before your next meeting and just smile through it.

Hopefully all this will help you out in a hostile situation during a meeting or at work.


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