This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

How to Handle 'Desk Rage' in Your Office

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Every office has one, or at least it seems that way.

That "one" is the office firecracker, the guy or gal who can't keep their anger in check and seems bent on making everyone in the workplace a target of their temper.

The data on anger at work is surprising and alarming. A U.K. study says the average worker experiences desk rage at least twice daily.

That's a lot of hot air released in the office. If you feel some of it headed in your general direction, what can you do?

Steven P. Cohen, president of The Negotiation Skills Co. and author of The Practical Negotiator, says dealing with an angry co-worker is easier if you understand the situation, plan for it and keep a cool head yourself.

Here's what Cohen advises when confronted with the office blowhard:

"First you have to ask yourself, 'Do I really need to deal with this person?,'" Cohen says. "Assuming the answer is yes, there are steps to follow":

  • Listen hard to the substance of what the "yeller" is saying. He may be expressing deep feelings or revealing very significant interests.
  • Don't respond immediately. One possibility is to sit there with a poker face in silence. In effect of this is letting him know that what he said or, more specifically, how he said it, is offensive to you.
  • Another response is to talk in a very soft voice. Speaking very slowly. Make him listen to you, even to the point where he asks you speak a little louder.
  • Your responses should begin with indication that you were listening, "If I understood you correctly ..." While you may understand what he said, that doesn't necessarily mean you agree with it. Make that point clearly.
  • If the yelling produces an emotional reaction from you, you might say a version of "When someone yells at me I feel hurt/insulted/misunderstood/as if we are not communicating."

Most of all, learn to manage the situation, and focus on disarming the red-faced blowhard, Cohen says.

"When someone yells at you, it is reasonable to say -- very gently -- that you do not have a hearing problem but that you are interested in what is being said," he adds. "This is also a time to take a deep breath, give yourself time to think and find a creative, unexpected way to respond. A surprise often throws the 'yeller' off-kilter, making him consider ideas that may not have occurred to him initially."

Anger is as pervasive in the workplace as a water cooler or a copy machine. Just as you can pull the plug on those items, use the tips above to pull the plug on the office bully.

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,030.21 +6.04 0.03%
S&P 500 2,081.88 -0.29 -0.01%
NASDAQ 4,773.4720 +8.0480 0.17%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs