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Win the confrontation game

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

If an employee tries to pick a verbal fight with you, look around. How many people are watching? Many managers tell us that their worst troublemakers tend to turn even more belligerent when they can play to the crowd (say, in a staff meeting). In fact, aggressive malcontents often adopt a more militant or rebellious stance if they can feed on the shock, support or even astonishment of their peers.

The solution: When you sense a confrontation is brewing with an angry employee, insist that you continue your conversation in private. Call a break in a meeting or training seminar. Start walking toward an empty office and motion for the angry individual to follow you. The sooner you take charge and position yourself and your employee in a setting that’s free of spectators, the sooner you can cut through the individual’s bluster and seek solutions. If the worker seems violent or otherwise threatening, then it’s wise to have one trusted witness alongside you as you try to calm the employee.

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