Here’s why anger management training can help a beleaguered workforce

SOURCE: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/AFP
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 28: (L-R) Creator/Executive Producer Bruce Helford, Actors Charlie Sheen and Selma Blair speak onstage at the "Anger Management" panel during the FX portion of the 2012 Summer TCA Tour on July 28, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.

By U2B Staff 

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Managers sending insults flying about their staff in front of their teams. Working with rude and uncooperative teammates. Having a superior who often takes credit for your work. When faced with taxing personalities in the office on a regular basis, suppressing rage can be anything but easy, but anger management training can offer some respite. 

AJ Novick Group notes that workplace aggression costs companies millions of dollars every year. Citing data from the Bureau of Justice, they said over 500,000 victims of workplace violence lose over 1.8 million workdays a year, at a cost of US$55 million a year. 

It’s clear that anger can be costly and hinders productivity.

The continuing education provider in California adds that anger management intervention cuts cost by decreasing the liability a company may face by having an inappropriate employee behave badly towards others. 

“It also helps solve employee problems because they will learn skills to better manage their anger and stress,” they said.


Diffusing anger in the workplace

When tempers flare, naturally, the work environment becomes an uncomfortable and stressful place to be in. In some instances, morale starts to take a dip, robbing staff of their sanity and energy before eventually taking a toll on performance. 

But before things unfold for the worse and staff begin channeling their inner hulk, it becomes essential for companies to equip staff with the tools that would help them manage stress and anger more effectively.  

Dr Tony Fiore, licensed psychologist and anger management trainer, notes that there are several tools that will be useful in handling angry episodes in the workplace. 

For instance, it’s essential to respond, rather than to react to anger. He adds that a key ingredient to managing anger is learning to change “self-talk”– or an internal dialog – that creates or intensifies angry feelings.

Dr Fiore notes that managers should also be alert to stressed employees and recommend help before things get out of hand. “In many companies, HR or EAP (employee assistance professionals) can provide you with resources and referrals,” he said.

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, also plays an important role in managing anger in the workplace. Skills to improve EQ can be learned by both employees and management to increase understanding of themselves and others, which directly relates to increased productivity and workplace harmony.


It’s also important for staff to learn how to communicate assertively, rather than aggressively, to get their points across, and learning to accept and let go of the wrongs done to them to release any anger and resentment. 

“This, in turn, may improve your health, and help you focus on your job instead of your negative feelings,” Dr Fiore explained.

“Is “acceptance” easy? Of course not. Nor does it mean that you think that whatever happened to you was right, or that you have to like the offending person. 

“What it does mean is ‘letting go’ of the negative feelings you now experience when you remember a negative experience or you encounter the offending person so that it no longer affects you.”

Many of these skills can easily be learned through a series of training and workshops, including in areas such as anger management training. Companies can also encourage or sponsor employees to take up microcredential courses from providers like Udemy and Coursera on areas that can help them with their personal growth, which they can learn at their own pace.

Ultimately, employee development should not take a backseat as it can affect workplace harmony, in addition to promoting growth, reducing turnover rates, and enhancing productivity.