The Disgruntled Worker – 5 Ways to Handle an Angry Employee

If you have ever worked in an office then it’s possible that you have come across an angry, disgruntled and frustrated colleague or superior. They may be an enraged worker for a number of reasons, such as disdain for the job at hand, insecurity over their own work competency or irritation over management.

Whether you’re a manager or an entry level clerk, it can be hard to deal with these types of employees because they tend to bring the entire office down with them and potentially hurt the productivity levels or give the company a bad reputation when it comes to current and future clients.

Of course, an angry employee doesn’t have to appear to be rapidly gesticulating, raising their voice or throwing a fit. A discontented worker can instead incorporate quiet unscrupulous measures, like exacerbating office gossip, being dishonest with others and using a manipulative demeanor – these days, they can simply head online and make vicious comments about the company and its staff.

According to an article penned by Forbes’s Cheryl Conner, the original source for an employee’s anger can be directly related to the leadership itself. Research has indicated that an angry worker may be upset by the fact that the company’s management lacks inspiration and motivation, trust, communication, integrity and development.

“These employees need better leaders who know how to inspire and motivate them, give them opportunities for development, and treat them with the respect and dignity they each deserve,” wrote Connor. “A third of a person’s life is spent in the workplace, sometimes more. If the environment an employee works in is lead by an extraordinary leader who cares about their development, it leaves employees with little room to complain.”

If you’re looking to calm down a livid employee or you want to resolve the issue then here are five ways to handle an irate worker:


Instead of simply ignoring the incensed employee, attempt to recognize the anger and find out the origins for it. The rage can be addressed by sitting down with the employee and asking them questions diplomatically, such as why they’re fuming, what would make them feel better and how the office can help in achieving this.


Embarking on this route may appear to be graveling and pleading for tranquility in the office, but it’s actually allowing the worker to realize they’re the ones who are being extremely difficult within the confines of the business. When a colleague or a supervisor is cross, simply apologize to them for their rage and listen to their grievances. This incites a short-term truce until the matter is concluded.


Being professional with someone who is yelling, cussing and intimidating can be very hard. However, professionalism can diffuse the situation almost immediately and perhaps even help legally dismiss the unhappy worker – this is achieved by working with human resources and speaking with other office staff members.

In this case, a professional mannerism can also lead to the employee providing a detailed account as to why they’re so heated.


In order to avoid any further disruptions in the office, sometimes you may have to take leadership and request this person to leave the workplace, take an extra break or go home for the remainder of the day (of course, this can only be accomplished when you are in a position of authority). Leaders know how to quench an irate behavior by practicing both empathy and knowing what’s best for business.

job search
job search


Although when an employee is angry he or she may not make much sense, it is still important to invoke some validation. This means that you should be heartening to what they’re saying by noting that what they’re iterating makes sense, seeking out potential solutions and concurring with some elements to their argument.

Being around an angry employee isn’t good for yourself or for your colleagues. It especially isn’t healthy for the company overall. A disgruntled employee shouldn’t be fired immediately – unless they’re physically assaulting and insulting staff members – but the situation has be to diffused before it gets out of hand.

Photo by Maks Karochkin via Flickr.