Career Advice

How to De-escalate an Aggressive Situation at Work

A simple exchange of ideas can lead to a blown-out argument. If you do not manage the argument correctly, it can lead to employees getting aggressive. If an employee is swearing and raising his/her voice at their colleagues, you must de-escalate the situation before it results in a physical fight. Aggressive Employee behavior is bothersome, and you should tackle it as soon as you discover it. Try these tactics when trying to de-escalate a situation at work: 

End the conversation:

When you notice an employee getting riled up during an argument, end the conversation immediately. Please point out the behavior he/she was exhibiting and how it is not acceptable in the workplace. 

Acknowledge feelings but denounce actions:

Establish that the employees’ feelings are valid, but their approach is not acceptable. E.g., “I understand you are angry at the moment, but yelling and hitting the table is not permitted.” By doing this, you allow the person to see how their action is damaging to themselves and the team. 

Don’t keep the same energy:

Do not allow yourself to get emotional and join in the screaming and shouting. Maintain the volume of your voice, your tone, and be as professional as possible. 

Take a break:

Tell everyone to take a break. This break would allow the parties involved to cool off. Or, if possible, postpone the meeting to a later time when everyone is no longer agitated. 

Find common ground:

Find a middle ground where everyone agrees. When you can do this, no one would feel left out or think anyone is against them on the team. Also, it makes every team member feel heard, which in turn strengthens the team.