How to Deal With Hostile People

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Anger-18658_1920Whether it is an angry customer or a frustrated employee, we all face times in the workplace when we find ourselves up against other people’s hostility.  So knowing how to defuse a potentially explosive situation is a very valuable skill; here are a few things to try in order to turn down the heat. 

  • An angry person is generally an unreasonable person, so acknowledge feelings first and try to pacify the person before getting a grip on the actual problem.
  • If you spot a person’s anger before he or she has the chance to go off on an abusive rant, acknowledge that the person looks upset.  By doing so and simply asking in a respectful tone of voice what the problem is, you set the tone for calmer and more productive communication.
  • Never rise to another person’s anger by being aggressive, nor respond with passive words or behavior.  Try to ignore their demeanor, be assertive and keep bringing them back to the matter at hand.
  • Always show that you are in control and that the other party’s unreasonable behavior won’t cause you to respond in kind.  In particular, be careful to avoid words that are likely to sound confrontational.
  • Dealing with hostile individuals makes for an extremely emotionally charged situation, but you lose control at your own peril.  Think before responding, be mindful of the tone and volume of your speech, and if things look as though they are getting out of control, take a time out.