Once in a while, you will have to face situations where people choose to show aggression to achieve a goal. The reasons for the behaviour may be valid in their eyes, and they may be able to justify everything they do and say.
The question is, do you want to be able to influence people effectively and help them react properly when the emotions are running high?
Here are some ideas on how to deal with aggression coming your way:
1) Stay calm yourself: Easier said than done, but essential if you are going to reason with the aggressor. Remember, when the emotional brain takes over, the logical brain takes second place, so by forcing yourself not to be influenced by emotion, you stand a better chance of dealing with it.
2) State clearly how you see it: Identifying the position from your point of view helps the other person to see a new or differing perspective. Remaining calm helps them see their behaviour isn’t
going to influence you.
3) Show them you see their point of view: Seeing their angle doesn’t mean you agree with it; it simply means you understand it. People are more willing to rationalise a situation if they feel they are understood.
4) Resist the urge to fight back: This will add fuel to the fire and not help with your control. Stay calm, don’t interrupt and allow the emotion to burn itself out.
5) Focus on solutions, rather than blame: While emotions are running high, it is not the time to accuse or cast dispersions on other people. Blame will only ignite more flames, especially if the situation or person being blamed cannot be defended.
6) If all fails, agree to leave it for the time being and return to it when the aggression has been dissipated: You may not be able to deal with the aggression at the time it is happening; by returning to it minutes, hours or days later, you may see it from a new perspective and the emotion won’t be clouding the issue like it did before.
Handling aggressive behaviour isn’t easy, especially when you can see the other person has a point. However, understanding why it occurs and dealing with the solution helps you put the emphasis on results, and helps the aggressor identify ways to release the tension in more constructive ways.
Originally published: 18 August, 2011
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