written by: Vikas Vij•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 11/22/2010
If you know how to manage aggressive people, you can convert their hyper energy levels into a positive force for the company. Managing aggression is an art that every manager must know in order to make the best out of a difficult situation.
slide 1 of 1
The Art of Managing Aggressive People
Working in a competitive environment can create stressful conditions for many people. There are also people who are aggressive by nature and may be easily given to anger in a difficult situation. A successful manager must know how to manage aggressive people and channel their energies positively for the organization. Aggressive people may not be only among employees, but also among business associates, clients, vendors, financiers or investors. Therefore, it becomes important to have the right temperament to be able to manage aggression at the workplace successfully.
Separate the Individual from the Position
When dealing with aggressive people, it is important to maintain a professional and detached approach, and not get emotionally engaged with the persona of the individual. If the individual is an important contributor to the organization as an employee or as a client, or someone else who is valuable for the company, it is critical to focus on the role and position of the individual and remember its significance for the company’s goals. It will help to keep a clinical relationship with the individual to get the best out of him or her without slipping into a conflict.
Be a Good Listener
If you wish to master the secret of how to manage aggressive people, it primarily lies in being a good listener. Most of the times, an individual with an aggressive personality does not mean any harm to the organization’s interests, or else he would not be there in the first place. All he may need is to vent to his emotions, and as an effective manager, you may allow him that opportunity and earn his loyalty. Listening is a great art that avoids conflicts and helps to cool down flagrant situations. The aggressor most likely needs a listening ear, and the last thing he wants is to be lectured or even guided on the particular issue. Therefore, give him a patient listening ear and you can get him to do all that you want him to do.
Gain Time When There is a Stalemate
Experienced managers know that more often than not, problems arising out of aggressive behavior get resolved automatically if sufficient time is allowed for tempers to cool down. Sometimes too much treatment can only aggravate the situation further. So if a conflict has reached a stalemate with an aggressive individual, it is better to sleep over the issue rather than persist with logic and argumentation. Gain time with the aggressor and assure him the discussion will be continued the next day. In a majority of cases, the aggressor’s attitude will be far improved than what it was the previous day.
Use your Charm, Wit and Humor
One of the best weapons in managing aggressive people is a charming personality that can disarm even the most difficult people in aggressive situations. This is an art that every manager should learn in order to deal with unpleasant situations. Self-deprecating humor is the best because it can turn the situation into a light-hearted one instantly. It is expected of a good manager to have excellent control over personal ego and emotions because of his superior and privileged position. The self-esteem of the manager should match with the seniority of his position, and that can help him to deal with aggressive people calmly and skilfully.
Have a Workplace Bullying Management Policy
One of the common challenges in people management today is to handle the workplace bully effectively. To ensure a consistent approach toward handling all instances of bullying at work, create a clear workplace bullying policy. The spirit of the policy must be to reform the bully and to channel his energies toward constructive work. The policy may include a provision for two or three warnings before a stern management action may be taken against the individual. When the bully is aware of the stern action stipulated in the policy, almost invariably he will transform his behavior before that stage is reached.