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How to Calm an Angry Coworker

How to Calm an Angry Coworker

Jay Cataldo | Excelle

August 27, 2009

As much as you love your new iPhone, it’s proving to be a big distraction. For instance, you were so caught up with Tweetdeck this week that you neglected to complete an important assignment. You know… the one your boss needed four days ago. Unfortunately, it’s too late to fix the problem which is bad news, because she’s pretty peeved and would like a word. The good news? Umm, no good news. Sorry.

Everybody makes mistakes; it’s human nature. But then again, so is screaming your head off at the person who screwed up. Since we all have our bad days, it’s only as matter of time before you’ll be on the receiving end of somebody’s meltdown. Because of this, it can be useful to know how to calm an irate coworker as quickly and painlessly as possible.

The next time you find yourself absorbing some serious verbal abuse, use these six simple steps to escape the situation with nothing more than a few small lumps on your ego:

Step 1: Breathe, relax and listen

When criticized or belittled, most of us will quickly become defensive. This is a mistake which can not only prolong the verbal tirade, but escalate it even further.

The first thing you should do is listen calmly without saying a word. Take a deep breath, relax your body and listen closely to every accusation and insult hurled your way. Resist the urge to start an argument and just listen.

Step 2: Open up your body

While you’re listening, make sure that your body language isn’t showing signs of defensiveness. Face the person directly, keep your arms down at your sides, relax your facial muscles and maintain gentle eye contact. Remember to keep breathing.

Steps 3 – 6 on the next page →


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