Upper management just added an extra hour of work every day for everyone on your team.
And you are the lucky manager who gets to tell everyone!
When you get everyone together to tell them, you can bet they’ll be angry.
Would you like to know how to handle such a situation with grace, courage, and tact?
How to Brace Yourself for the Worst
First, know that you’ll feel tension in your stomach, your chest, and your head. Take a few slow, deep, cleansing breaths. This should calm your nerves so you can think clearly.
Second, before you deliver the news, think through every possible negative scenario that could happen. Plan how you’ll respond so you won’t be caught off guard. Picture yourself handling the situation in the best way you can imagine – no matter what. Doing this will give you courage that may surprise you.
Now it’s time to face the storm.
How to Calm an Angry Person in Less Than a Minute
When someone is in your face and shouting, what should you do?
If you want to preserve your relationship, follow these steps.
Let him say what he wants. Nobody wants to be told he’s wrong when he’s angry. He already feels violated. Don’t add to it by being judgmental.
And by all means, don’t interrupt him.
Use open body language. Arch Lustberg describes an expression called the “Open Face.” You can make it by lifting your eyebrows. It looks like this.
The open face is warm and receptive. It can add melody to your voice. It can brighten your outlook. It can soften the fires of anger.
When someone’s angry, you don’t want to reflect it back. Lift your brows and watch his defenses come down.
Disarm his anger with a single sentence. He may be ready to fight you. He probably doesn’t care in the moment that you could fire him. His greatest concern is that the air between you is clear.
Here are a few things you should say first:
“You raise a valid point.”
“I’d be angry too, if I were you.”
“I can see how you’d feel that way.”
“You’ve got every right to be upset.”
“I know this is difficult for you.”
“I don’t like this either.”
He feels angry. You agree that he is.
He’s hurt. You agree that he’s in pain.
He sees his work getting harder. You agree that the extra hour is a burden.
When you don’t resist his feelings, he’ll have no reason to keep fighting.
Then you can talk.
Lead the Charge
Change is tough. But it is part of life. Guide your people through it – rather than forcing them. Paint a bright picture at the end of the tunnel. With that expectation, your people will do whatever it takes to get it – for themselves and for you.
How have you dealt with an angry employee? Did you use any of these techniques? How did it go? Share your story and encourage someone who may be struggling!