Work Place - Safe Place

Work Place - Safe Place

by James A. Baker

(Recently, we at the Anger Management Training Institute have noticed a marked increase in requests for help from employers dealing with angry employees. Maybe it is the general stress everyone is feeling because of the economy, but whatever the reason, employers need to be better prepared to deal with it. This column first ran about two years ago, but this needs to be said again. JAB)


I am a manager for a medium-sized software firm. I like most things about my job, but I don't like working with Jeanette, who happens to be one of my direct reports. She appears to be angry all the time; she is very thin-skinned with coworkers, she doesn't take direction well from me and, lately, she has spoken sharply to several of our clients over the phone. She is a very productive worker, but we are all walking on eggshells around her and the stress is starting to get to us. At this point, firing her is not an option because she hasn't violated any policies and she still gets her work done. What can I do?

Anxiety in Austin

Anger Management Class: Work Place - Safe Place

Dear Austin:
I am glad to have a chance to finally address the question of anger in the workplace, because it is a huge problem and getting bigger all the time. Anger in the workplace is an extremely expensive - although often invisible - cost of doing business. Studies have discovered that anger and violence in the workplace cost businesses as much as $4.2 billion a year and result in 1.8 million days of lost productivity. No matter how you measure it, the effect of anger in the workplace is often devastating, and very few companies are adequately prepared to deal with it. Some researchers estimate that as much of 42% of employee time is spent on trying to resolve conflict. Most experts agree that at least 25% of the workforce at any given time is dealing with unresolved, chronic anger issues. Employees ages 18-34 are four times more likely to report being angry as those over 50. One anger management specialist describes the situation as an epidemic of “underground chronic anger.”

The American workplace at the beginning of the 21st century has taken on the look and feel of a disaster area. The economy is in chaos right now. In order to compete, employers have been forced to do more with less; do it faster and do it cheaper. The jobs mantra has become “automate it, downsize it or ship it overseas.” Jobs are at stake everyday in workplaces all around the country. The stress to perform and compete has generated unprecedented pressure on workers at all levels. Anger, the by-product of stress and fear, has skyrocketed as a result. However, this super-stressed atmosphere has really only taken a set of typical dynamics and made them worse. There has always been anger in the workplace. People, working in close quarters for 8-10 hours per day under pressure from competition and deadlines, will find plenty of opportunities to get angry. The main reasons given for anger in the workplace are:

Anger Management Class: Work Place - Safe Place

Real or imagined criticism or rejection by supervisors or management, especially over matters relating to performance evaluations or promotions or pay raises.

Inefficient, apathetic coworkers.

Tight deadlines and heavy workloads.

Personality conflicts between team members.

Once an employee begins to harbor frustration or resentment related to these conditions, the effect can and does ripple across a team or an entire office. The angry employee's production slows down because anger is sapping him of motivation and energy. This has an impact on the team around him, and may spin off other “anger whirlpools” as colleagues grow resentful, maybe even apprehensive, in his presence. As anger explodes into open conflict, production shuts down entirely, at least for the moment. Team members get distracted, defensive, anxious and perhaps even start honing their resumes. They definitely waste valuable time talking to each other and about each other, when they should be working, instead.

Anger Management Class: Work Place - Safe Place

Any way you slice it, anger costs the company and its owners or stockholders a ton of money. Angry employees gum up the works; they slow, even halt, production in some cases, which costs the company money. They distract or intimidate other employees, keeping them from performing efficiently. More money lost there. They sometimes offend and drive off customers, causing future profits to take an instant hit. They sometimes offend and drive off other employees, costing valuable time and money to hire and train replacements. And, more and more, angry employees are committing violence at work, injuring and occasionally killing co-workers. Now we are talking major work stoppages, employee trauma, mountains of bad publicity and even lawsuits. Who knows how much money this could add up to? Companies that fail to develop clear, effective policies for managing anger might as well take big piles of money down into the basement and throw it into the furnace. Anger in the workplace can be really expensive.

So, that is the bad news about workplace anger. The real question - the one you are asking - is, “what can a company do about it?” The most important thing you can do is take steps right away to address issues of inappropriate anger in your company employee policies. Define what types of behaviors and outbursts of emotion are inappropriate, and clearly describe consequences and options for remediation under this policy.

Anger Management Class: Work Place - Safe Place

Of course, I heartily endorse the idea that companies should be proactive here: offer some kind of mandatory anger management training for people who need it, and take responsibility to address adverse working conditions that increase the incidence of stressful situations for everyone. Many companies are going one step farther, by providing anger management training for all employees in conjunction with rolling out the new anger personnel policies. Until you create an anger management policy for your employees to follow, your hands are tied. Once you do have the policy in place, you have leverage to use, up to and including termination, if all else fails.

Employers who fail to address issues of anger in the workplace are only asking for trouble of the most expensive kind. Do whatever you can to make your work place a safe place.

Anger Management Seminars & Anger Management Classes & Anger Management Class & Anger Management Techniques & Anger Management Workshops & Anger Management Programs & Anger Management Courses & Anger Management Online Class & Court Ordered Anger Management Classes & Online Anger Management Classes & Anger Management Help & Anger Management Training & Anger Management Therapy


Welcome to the Anger Management Training Institute! We offer a variety of Court Certified Anger Management Classes which include our Anger Programs and Online Courses, Seminars, and our award winning Online Class to help people just like you overcome Anger Problems through the simple but effective Anger Management Techniques which are practiced and learned in James A. Baker’s Best Selling Book “The Anger Busting Workbook” by Bayou Publishing. Our fast and effective Anger Courses, Classes, Workshops, and Anger Management Seminars have helped over 60,000 individuals just like you resolve their anger management therapy issues and regain complete control of their lives. Get fast Anger Management Help.

learn more