Compassion, not sanctions, best response to workplace anger: Study

Managers should encourage employees to come up with solutions
By Amanda Silliker
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/05/2011

When George Raine witnesses an angry outburst from an employee, he brings the employee into his office for a chat. He starts by saying, “I understand you’re angry, why don’t you tell me what you’re upset about?” and then he listens for as long as it takes.

Raine’s compassion is the best response to workplace anger, according to a recent study.

“Anger is an indicator there is a problem that really needs attention and a supportive response gives us a chance to start a conversation,” said Deanna Geddes, chair of the Fox School of Business’ human resource management department at Temple University in Philadelphia and co-author of the study. “Sanctions very often can prevent that very valuable information exchange.”