Use the following eight strategies below to deal with angry co-workers:

Stay Safe & Involve Others
If you feel threatened by an angry person, trust your judgment. Leave the room immediately if you feel unsafe, or if you’re too upset to resolve the situation on your own. Ask your employer or a trusted colleague to work with you to resolve the situation. It might also be appropriate to report the incident, if the person is completely out of control.

Don’t Respond with Anger
It’s very natural to get upset when angry people confront you, regardless of whether their anger is justified. You feel under attack, and your body floods with “fight or flight” hormones, which can lead you to become angry yourself. Do your best to respond calmly and intelligently when you face angry people. Learn how to manage your emotions and practice deep-breathing so that you stay relaxed during tense interactions. If you feel yourself getting upset, politely take a break from the conversation and go for a quick walk to calm down.

Distance Yourself Emotionally
Sometimes, another person’s anger has nothing to do with you. When you recognize this, it can have a major influence on how you cope with the situation. Perhaps a team member received some bad news, and is taking his negative feelings out on you; perhaps he feels overwhelmed by his workload or his personal life; or, perhaps, this person is subconsciously using anger to make himself feel better. If you can recognize this, you can distance yourself from the anger emotionally, and you’ll find it much easier to cope with it. At times, however, you may be the cause of another person’s anger. Here, it’s important to take responsibility for your actions.

Identify the Cause
Next, you need to determine why the person you’re dealing with feels angry. Use effective questioning to get to the root cause of the anger. Encourage the employee to explain why he feels angry, don’t interrupt him while he speaks, and keep on asking questions until he’s fully explained herself. Try to see things from his perspective as he expresses his feelings. When it’s your turn to talk, speak slowly and calmly, lower your vocal tone, and use non-threatening body language. This will often encourage others to calm down. Try not to use generic statements, such as, “I understand how you feel,” or “That sounds really frustrating.” Instead, use specific, clear statements that rephrase what the other person has said (don’t overdo this, or do it in a thoughtless, formulaic way). Demonstrate an interest in resolving the situation and try not to judge the other person’s behaviour – this shows respect. Think about the last time you felt angry and remember how you wanted to be treated in that situation.

Pursue a Solution and Ideally Apologize
Once you have understood the situation, try to avoid making excuses or defending your actions (or those of your team or organization). Defensiveness can make others feel even angrier than they are already. Instead, ask what you can do to resolve the situation and make things right.

Distract Them
One way to defuse a person’s anger is to focus his attention on something else. Rumination increased feelings of anger, while distraction can decrease them. You can do this with laughter, if it’s appropriate – it’s impossible to laugh and be angry at the same time. People who experience intense levels of anger might be unwilling or unable to change the subject, however, and you may annoy them further if you try to get them to focus on something else. This strategy will likely work best with people who are only moderately cross.

Help Them Control Their Anger
Angry outbursts from someone on your team can affect the whole group’s productivity and morale. Become a coach or mentor for these people, and encourage them to learn how to control their anger.

Communicate How You Feel
You may work or live with a person who frequently experiences angry outbursts. If so, once the anger has passed, it’s important to communicate how this person’s anger makes you feel. Try to avoid accusatory “you” statements, which can make the other person feel angry and defensive. For example, if you say, “You upset the rest of the team when you yell and scream during meetings” to someone, he’s likely to feel angry. Instead, be respectful but assertive with the other person, and use “I” statements to communicate how you feel. For example, you might try “I feel upset and frazzled when you yell and scream during meetings, and it makes it hard for the team to come up with good solutions.”