How to Deal with Angry Co-Workers!!

The workplace is a tough place to be in. Throw in an angry co-worker and work becomes all the more stressful and unpleasant.

Angry co-workers can be a nuisance at the workplace. They create a negative atmosphere for themselves and those around them. They demand time and attention and often shift focus from the job at hand to petty issues. They may seem unwilling to compromise or co-operate and make life difficult for those around them. If you have ever been on the receiving end of an angry co-worker you’ll realize how difficult it is to reason with him. Sometimes, you may be the brunt of his anger even when not at fault. Many angry co-workers tend to blame their colleagues for mistakes committed by them. Righteous anger if expressed in a positive manner can be excused. But when a co-worker gets angry frequently for trivial things, it’s possible that he is suffering from anger related behavioral disorders.   

Dealing with an angry co-worker requires tact and sensitivity. Generally, the management is responsible for dealing with angry co-workers. However, if the anger is directed towards you, even you can take charge of the situation.     

Strategies to deal with an Angry Co-worker:
• Keeping your cool: When you come face to face with an angry co-worker, try not to lose your temper. Losing your temper and indulging in a screaming match will only fuel the situation. Maintaining your composure is very important at this point of time. This may not completely dilute the situation but at least will prevent it from blowing out of proportion.
• Active Listening: When a co-worker is on a short fuse, let him speak without interrupting. Listen rather than speak. Listening will help in understanding why he is agitated. It may sound clichéd but you can say “I realize that you’re upset, is there something I can do?”
• Don’t Interfere: If you are not the direct recipient of your co-workers rage, it may be best not to interfere. Keep a safe distance as interfering may turn his wrath on you and the situation may go out-of-control. Only endeavor to mediate if you suspect a potentially violent situation.
• Apologize: If your co-worker is upset because of some mistake committed by you, do not hesitate to apologize immediately. Don’t make excuses and give justifications. Accepting your mistake and promising not to let the same thing happen again could succeed in defusing your co-workers temper.
• Inform Management: If your co-worker exhibits signs of frequent anger issues for no rhyme or reason, it may be time to bring it to the notice of the management. This is not being sneaky but basically just looking after your interests.

Stress Management for Angry Co-workers: Stress at work is simply inevitable. There are deadlines to meet and reports to be completed. If things don’t go according to schedule you could find yourself pulled up for incompetence. All this leads to stress and tension. Most people accept this as part and parcel of the game and take things in their stride. However, loads of people can’t come to terms with stress and become angry and frustrated. Co-workers who get angry for insignificant things may be over-stressed. These co-workers may be burdened with unrealistic deadlines and work pressures. Inability to cope with them leads to over-the-top stress and subsequently anger. Stress Management is a must for angry co-workers. Management should make appropriate arrangements for angry co-workers to attend Stress Management Programs.

For additional information about effective stress management, anger management, and assertive communication skills, along with tools to increase your emotional intelligence call the Anger Management Institute of Texas 281-477-9105 or visit

Anger Management Institute of Texas is a certified Anderson & Anderson ® provider.

Anger Management Classes and Anger Management – Executive Coaching available in Houston, Texas.

Gregory A. Kyles, M.A., LPC, CEAP, CAMF
Director, Anger Management Institute of Texas
Diplomate, President of Texas Chapter
American Association of Anger Management Providers