How to Deal with Mr. Angry

You know Mr Angry, don’t you? The person who doesn’t respect the needs, opinions and feelings of others. The person who never apologises for things, even when they are at fault. The person who seems to take great satisfaction in being right (and making you look bad). Often rude and abusive, and occasionally deceptive and manipulative, how do we manage Mr. Angry and aggressive behaviour?

Keep Calm

When you’re dealing with this person, composure is one of the most important things. Whisper this quietly… often, the reason this person is so angry is because they want to get a reaction from you. In fact, others might only listen when they are angry L Therefore, take a deep breath and stay calm and in control of the situation. If you retaliate with criticism or worse still with anger of your own, you legitimise their approach and could get drawn into escalating the situation by trading insults – not a good look for you and your credibility at work.

Managing emotions and remaining calm under pressure are not easy. A great way to develop these skills and more is by attending our Emotional Intelligence course.

Listen and Ask Questions

Listening without judgement might negate some of their aggression and make them see you as less of a threat. Besides that, when you listen, try to do so with compassion and sincerity by making steady eye contact. As they share their negative feelings, this approach will give them the satisfaction of being heard and help to pacify them. As they explain their point of view, it is important to ask them additional questions.

The purpose of asking these questions should be to increase your understanding, rather than for them to prove anything to you, for example, that they performed a task competently or made the right decision. If you ask questions that show concern for their well-being, or that show you want to understand the challenges they are facing this will help to reduce their negative emotions and create a more collaborative atmosphere.

Asking effective questions and listening are both skills that can be developed on our Communication Training London.

Give Your Perspective

It is important that you are also heard. When you provide your version of events about an issue, describe what happened in a neutral way as an observer might describe it – fairly and objectively. This person is less likely to be aggressive if you empathise with their situation because your approach will reassure them that your intentions are to understand and solve the problem.

For example:

“I can see that this has been upsetting for you”.
“I understand that we should have met sooner to see if you had enough resources”.
Call Them Out

Remember when we talked about this person wanting a reaction? Aggression and anger can simply be tactical behaviour therefore no amount of sugar-coating will pacify the most negative people. In these situations, it is important to call the other person out. At the same time, we need to do so sensitively: don’t kick the hornet’s nest! Here are two examples that make use of positive language and tone to highlight this person’s behaviour.

For someone you know quite well: “Think about how much better this would go if we didn’t attack each other?”
For a more formal relationship: “I feel uncomfortable with the atmosphere right now, how do you feel?”


Using these phrases will help them to reflect on their aggressive behaviour and change it. Besides that, it will help you to win back some control over the situation. If they continue to be aggressive, postpone the conversation because this will allow them to calm down and give you time to think, say:

“We need to deescalate this. Let’s take an hour and come back in a calmer and more constructive frame of mind”.
In Summary…

There are many challenges that threaten our relationships at work. Angry and aggressive behaviour are two of the most destructive forces we face because of the negative impact they can have on the performances, motivation, productivity and efficiency of our teams. No one wants to work with Mr. Angry so let’s use the strategies outlined to handle this difficult individual.

Motivation: the art of getting people to do what you want

Getting The Work Done Willingly And Well!
Practical ways to motivate

Motivation: the art of getting people to do what you want them to do, because they want to do it. Sounds good?

Dwight D. Eisenhower certainly thought so – he said it! Let’s talk about motivation – what can a manager do to motivate the team? To make the team want to achieve the business goals just as much as they do? There are a number of theories around on this topic.

I’d like to focus on motivation at work, and look at the psychologist Frederick Herzberg and his Two Factor Theory of Motivation, which he shared with the world in 1959.

Herzberg found that the aspects of work people considered favourable when they were satisfied with their work, were not the same as those highlighted as sources of dissatisfaction. He referred to them as motivators and hygiene factors:

Hygiene Factors

Hygiene factors at work can be likened to hygiene at home – a source of complaint if not right, but not a reason to get excited. The idea is that hygiene factors will not motivate you, but if they are missing or not right, they cause dissatisfaction.

Examples could be working toilets, comfy chairs, a working heating system, or a reasonable level of pay. If these are not provided, they can be a huge source of dissatisfaction.

As Herzberg discovered, removing the source of annoyance (the toilets are no longer blocked, here’s your chair and the heating’s working again!) does not cause motivation.

The opposite of dissatisfied is not motivated – it’s just no longer dissatisfied (it’s about time, the toilets should never have been out of order anyway!). In summary, we need the hygiene factors to be in place and correct. They’re never going to motivate anybody, but they do have the potential to demotivate.


Herzberg’s second set of factors are known as motivators. He argued that active motivation is based around these; they enable people to derive satisfaction from their work and they provide a stimulus to work harder. Here are some examples – which ones can you apply?

  • A sense of achievement – give the team something to achieve and acknowledge them when they do. Agree SMART goals which are also stretching.
  • Recognition for the work done – behaviour that is rewarded will continue! Praise them when praise is due. Also provide constructive feedback to help them to do it even better.
  • A chance to take on more responsibility – delegate tasks as much as possible, to demonstrate your faith in their abilities.
  • A chance to use their initiative – when delegating a task, where possible try and give them the what but not the how, i.e. specify the end goal but let them decide how they get there. They will feel very involved and the commitment and ownership will be instant.
  • Doing interesting work – aim to delegate a balanced range of tasks, so they get to try something different. Variety is the spice of life!
  • Personal growth – ensure the team members have the skill and the will to do their jobs well. Some may have a skills gap. Provide the relevant training so they can learn and develop in their role. Help them to be the best they can be!
A final thought

All of the above sounds good, but it all starts with you. Leading by example is a huge motivator, and is a big focus of our mentoring courses London. Good leaders have willing followers. If you can be positive and enthusiastic about work, then your team can too. But if you can’t, don’t hold your breath!