8 Essential De-Escalation Skills for Managers & Team Leaders

If you work in management or human resources, you know that one of the most important parts of your job is to make sure everyone gets along.

An office is a place where people from all different cultures and backgrounds must work together. Employees will not always communicate well with one another. When people have conflicts at work, they might refuse to do their jobs, act belligerent, or even become physically violent.  

A manager must learn certain de-escalation skills to run an office that is productive. Here are eight essential de-escalation skills that any manager should learn.

1) Recognizing Early Warning Signs 

When there is a mass shooting at a place of business, it inevitably comes out in the press that the person exhibited some warning signs of becoming violent. 

If a person makes threats of violence, they should be taken very seriously. If they suggest that violence is a way to handle a situation, you should take them aside and find out why they feel that way. If they seem paranoid and say they think their co-workers are out to get them, it can be a sign that they think irrationally.

Employees who have committed mass shootings in the past were reported to seem very argumentative to coworkers. They may refuse to take basic criticism or take responsibility for the mistakes that they make.

People who are going through desperate financial or health situations will often turn to violence. Many people who have committed violent acts were suffering from clinical depression.

2) Non-Verbal Signs of Impending Violence

Not all warning signs are verbal. There are a few actions you should look for if you think a person may become violent. You should pay attention if you notice a person:

  • Making fists at their side. 
  • Staring at people. 
  • breathing heavy
  • Violating the personal space of others

3) Move the Conversation to a Private Area 

It is always best to have difficult conversations in private. If two workers have a problem with each other, or if one worker becomes angry, it is best to take them into a private office away from other people.

If a confrontation takes place in an area where other workers can hear, those workers may feel compelled to chime in or take sides. The more people who are around during a confrontation, the more people can get hurt if that confrontation turns violent. 

4) Manage Your Needs and Safety

One of the first things you will learn in any conflict management seminar is how to control your breathing during a conflict. Inhaling and exhaling for 6 seconds will make you feel calmer and more in control during a conflict.

Sitting down when you are having a difficult conversation can add to the tension between the people involved. It is better to stand up and move around when you are in a difficult situation.

Remind yourself that the situation is temporary. Try to envision what you will do when the conflict is over. Try to stay as emotionally detached as possible. Remember, the issue is that your upset co-workers’ problems are not about you in any way.

5) Show Empathy 

Everyone has been very upset about a situation in their life at one time or another. Most everyone has yelled or spoken out of turn in their lifetime. You should always listen very carefully to what a person is saying and try to have empathy when they are upset.

Restate the upset person’s concerns and let them know that you understand why it is frustrating to them. Let them know that you take their concerns seriously and that you will look into the matter at hand. A person who is upset about something at work will feel better if they know that something is being done about the problem.

6) Show Respect

When a person gets upset at work, it is often because they feel that no one listens to them or respects them. It is important not to condescend to them. Let them know what it is you value about them as an employee. If they are upset about a company policy, explain the reasons for that policy to them from a business perspective. Let them know that it is not personal.

Do not put your hands in your pocket or fiddle with an object as you talk to them. If a person has mental health problems and they are very upset, they may think that you are going to use whatever you have in your pockets or hands as a weapon. 

7) Use Proper Phrasing 

Words carry power, and it is important to use language that will not increase the anger of an upset person. The language you use should be as neutral as possible. There are a few phrases you can use to avoid escalating a bad situation. 

  • I would rather have a conversation when we are both less emotional.
  • I would like to understand why you feel the way you do.
  • I would like to think about what you have told me. 
  • I would like to listen to what you have to say. Then I would like you to hear what I have to say.

8) Provide Positive Choices

You should always suggest a few positive solutions to the problem that an upset employee is having. Discuss a way that the conflict can be resolved without violence or verbal confrontation. For example, if someone feels that they have wrongly been passed up for a promotion, discuss what they can do in the future to get a promotion. Let them know that you will tell the powers that be about their concern.

In addition to being dangerous, conflicts at work are upsetting to the people involved and those around them. It can hurt the morale of your company. Poor morale can affect productivity in an office.
According to https://pollackpeacebuilding.com/de-escalation-training-workshop/, it is always a good idea for the managers at your company to have conflict management training. Recognizing a potentially dangerous employee’s behavior and knowing how to handle that employee can keep you and your workers safe

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.