Conflict resolution and problem-solving skills work cooperatively in any successful risk management program to preserve a safe working environment. However, anger management techniques can often be forgotten or ignored and serve as a valuable keystone in an organization’s risk management training. By helping employees to manage their anger and training leaders to identify when and how to use de-escalation tactics, businesses can help reduce the risk of workplace violence, lawsuits, and other costly consequences.
“Typically, workplace violence occurs within four categories, including criminal intent, personal relationships, customer/client on employee, and employee on employee,” said Ed Pratt, Director of Risk Management at Safety National. “These incidents can start as a simple misunderstanding or performance problem. They do not usually escalate into aggression overnight. Conflict resolution starts with identifying the problem, and when that does not happen, it can manifest into unintended consequences, like workplace violence.”
Here we review how to recognize when conflict resolution is necessary, what anger management techniques can help, and why they are beneficial.
Identifying the Need for Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution can be a difficult process, but it is important to remember that it is always better to address a conflict head-on than to let it fester. These signs can indicate when mediation may be necessary.
- Watch for nonverbal cues. People often communicate their feelings nonverbally, through their body language and tone of voice. If you notice that someone is avoiding eye contact, crossing their arms, or raising their voice, it may be a sign that they are feeling angry or upset.
- Listen carefully to what people are saying. Sometimes people will say things that are indirect or passive-aggressive. If you pay attention to the words that people are using, you may be able to identify clues that there is a conflict.
- Talk to the people involved. This is the best way to identify if conflict resolution is needed. Ask them if they are feeling angry or upset and why.
Using Anger Management Techniques
Anger management is an important skill for everyone, but it is especially important for employees in high-stress environments. By helping employees to manage their anger, businesses can create a more productive and safe workplace for everyone. These techniques can help.
- Identifying triggers. The first step to managing anger is to identify the things that cause it. Once an employee is aware of the source of their anger, they can begin to avoid those situations or develop coping mechanisms for dealing with them. When the source, such as a co-worker, may be unavoidable for the employee, an organizational leader will need to intervene to understand how the conflict emerged. Managers may need to consider restructuring a team when necessary, but the goal should always be to settle any disputes.
- Taking a time-out. Encourage employees to take a break when they are feeling agitated or irritated by a situation. This could mean taking a few minutes to walk away from the situation or going to a quiet place to relax.
- Learning to express anger assertively. It is important for employees to express anger in a way that is assertive but not aggressive. This includes confidently asserting their needs without resorting to yelling, name-calling, or violence.
Understanding the Benefits of Anger Management Training
If you are an employer, there are a number of things you can do to promote proper conflict resolution in your workforce. Offering anger management training to employees, forming a supportive workplace structure, and encouraging employees to talk about their feelings can be incredibly beneficial to creating a safer work environment. Anger management training can accomplish the following:
- Improved communication. When employees are able to manage their anger, they are better able to communicate effectively with their coworkers and supervisors. This can lead to improved teamwork and problem-solving.
- Reduced stress. Anger is a major source of stress for many people. By learning to manage their anger, employees can reduce their stress levels and improve their overall well-being.
- Increased productivity. When employees are not feeling angry, they are more likely to be productive. This is because they are able to focus on their work and avoid distractions.