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How to deal with angry employees

GIVEN the debilitating economic meltdown in the country, most organisations have had to introduce austerity measures in order to survive the vagaries of a non-performing economy. Some of the measures taken include salary cuts and delayed disbursements, layoffs and so on.

People Management Issues Robert Mandeya

Expectedly, these measures have put management and workers on a collision course and the workplace has become one big battlefield between management and employees. Given the volatility at the workplace today, it is important to explore some of the manifestations of employee anger and possibly proffer solutions to this challenge.

Like Jacob Shriar of Officevibe rightly points out in his recent posting: “Dealing with angry employees can be difficult, but it’s incredibly important that you handle the situation effectively and calmly.” It is important for management to know that your angriest employees can be a real burden to the rest of your team and the entire company culture. Their negative attitude can affect not only the morale of other employees but also the success of the business if they start to slacken on their work. When an angry employee wants to (negatively) express themselves, it is during these moments when great leaders shine. The way leaders handle these situations separate the great from the mediocre.

Despite the challenges presented by the economy, leadership in organisations should care about the well-being of their employees, and should do everything in their power to make sure that they are happy and well taken care of.
Maintaining the service profit chain

The service profit chain explains the link between employee engagement and profits. Management must understand this link and how it impacts on productivity. One of the key components of the service-profit chain is that happy employees lead to happy customers which, in turn, lead to loyal customers. It is important to note that many of the lessons for customer service trainees in handling angry customers can also be applicable when trying to deal with angry employees. According to Bill Gates, the information communication technology morgul: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. Management should never ignore the feedback they get from their angry employees and should really strive to listen and I mean really listening in every sense of the word. The act of listening by management is indeed priceless.

Anger breeds negative energy

There is an energy that surrounds angry employees, and they affect everything (and everyone) around them. Now more than ever, with the proliferation of social media and openness on the internet, angry employees can do incredible amounts of damage to your brand. Just a tweet or whatsapp message of expression of anger by an angry employee can bring the whole brand tumbling down like a deck of cards.

There is a lot to be said about being authentic and truthful in leadership, and doing your best to avoid angry employees. People leave companies all the time and having some form of turnover is actually good for a company, but it is important that any departure is always on good terms. There should never be any hard feelings when parting ways with an employee.

Some of the ways angry employees can affect your brand include but not limited to: Upsetting clients and missing deadlines, leaking sensitive company information, deterring potential hires from joining, making people around them disengaged from their work as well as stealing company property.

Dealing with angry employees

Let us look at a few ways you can deal with angry employees. The most important thing is to be genuine, caring, and authentic. People are able to tell if you are being real or fake with them and, even if you do not necessarily change anything, the fact that you truly show that you care is often good enough. Remember, sometimes perception is reality.

Following this list of things should help you to deal with your angriest employees. Remember you should work hard to create an authentic company culture, based on openness and transparency and, equally, you should work hard to make your employees happy all the time.

In most companies this is not necessarily the case, and there are angry employees that are disengaged, costing your company tonnes of money in lost productivity.

Mandeya is a senior executive training consultant and communication in management advisor, a personal coach in leadership and professional development with the Institute of Leadership Research and Development. — mandeyarobert@yahoo.com or mandeyarobert@gmail.com.

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