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Fend off an unexpected angry outburst

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in Workplace Communication,Workplace Conflict

When you called Sylvia into your office, you didn’t expect tempers to flare. You simply wanted to make her aware of your concerns about errors in her work.

You assumed she would nod knowingly and provide an explanation. After all, she has a track record of solid performance and you had no indication anything serious was amiss.

But when you started to cite examples of her errors, she grimaced and seemed unduly angry. Finally, she interrupted and said in an uncharacteristically aggressive voice, “Why are you picking on me like this?”

You were already having a bad day, so you lashed back. In an aggrieved and louder-than-normal tone, you replied, “You’re doing sloppy work lately and I need to know what’s going on!”

Unfortunately, this only made her angrier. As her volume increased, she berated you and used inappropriate language. The conversation ended badly and ill will remains.

You’re faced with a longtime employee who never c...(register to read more)

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