Compassion, Not Punishment, Helps Diffuse Workplace
THURSDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- The best response to
workplace anger is compassion, not punishment, a new study
Supportive reactions by managers and co-workers to an employees'
angry outburst can actually lead to positive changes in the
workplace, while chastising or taking no action accomplishes
nothing, according to Deanna Geddes, chair of the human resource
management department at Temple University's Fox School of Business
The study included 194 people who had witnessed an angry
outburst (deviant anger) at work. The researchers found no
connection between firing an upset employee and solving underlying
workplace problems, but they did find that even a single act of
support by a manager or co-worker for the irate employee can
improve workplace tension.
The researchers wrote that "when companies choose to sanction
organizational members expressing deviant anger, these actions may
divert attention and resources from correcting the initial,
anger-provoking event that triggered the employee's emotional
On the other hand, if managers show "an active interest in
addressing underlying issues that prompted employee anger,
perceptions of improved situations increased significantly."
The study appears in the journal
"Business codes of conduct are often about what we shouldn't do as an angry employee in emotional episodes, while few, if any, tend to address our role as observers of emotional episodes," the researchers wrote. "Such guidelines, if available, could expand to include positive suggestions for those who witness, judge and respond to angry employees -- formally or informally."
The American Psychological Association offers tips on how to
deal with your boss.
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