Personal Assistance Service (PAS) | 2200 West Main Street | Erwin Square Tower | 4th Floor, Suite 400A | Durham, NC 27705 | 919-416-1PAS (919-416-1727)

Violence in the Workplace

Important Contacts

In the event of an emergency, the Duke Emergency Web Site will be updated frequently with instructions and information about the incident, as well as campus services and resources available to the Duke community.

How Do I Deal With Angry People?

It is important to have in your mind what to do when in physical jeopardy. Think before you act, use common sense, and avoid confrontation. It can be helpful to rehearse in your mind (imagine a possible situation) or with a colleague as to what to do in this kind of situation. Seek safety and call law enforcement as soon as possible if you determine there to be an imminent threat.

Describe the individual's behavior and assess how it affects you. Try to be aware of why this person is pushing your buttons and getting you angry. What do you need to do to control your anger?

How does this person normally act when they are angry? What pushes their buttons?

Assess your personal feelings about the individual.

Determine whether you need assistance in handling the situation.

Try to find out why the individual is angry.

Give the aggressor your full attention, maintain eye contact, observe verbal and physical cues, and stay out of arm's reach.

Let the aggressor express his/her concerns (vent), don't react to words with touching or reaching. Remain calm. How can you use your voice and body language to diffuse anger?

Restate/validate their concerns.

Ask the aggressor for his/her suggestions on possible action for resolution.

Let the aggressor know what you can do and when you can get back to him/her with a resolution (if applicable).

Follow through on the concern/complaint.