Don’t Fight Anger With Facts

May 27, 2013Comments Off on Don’t Fight Anger With Facts

Sarah was completely right and lost her
role (fortunately, not her job).

During a member uprising, she explained in
clear, precise, terms, how they were wrong and the organization was right. Her
language was polite, if a little terse. 

The responsible was predictable. Members
became angrier.

Facts aren’t the solution to anger. Telling
an angry person they’re wrong, (even if they are) will exacerbate the issue.
The issue is the emotion, not the facts. You can’t outright reject someone’s
anger.

Worse still, Sarah thus made herself the
sole target of that anger. Members will never accept her now. That made her
role impossible.

When
people are angry, they want to be listened to. I’d suggest you respond with a
message similar to:

Hey everyone,

Clearly something has gone wrong here, I’m furious and
very sorry about that.

Let’s try and fix this.

Rather than overwhelm all discussions here and lose
track of everyone’s comments, I’ve set up a thread/group here for people
that want to fix it. If you have the time, please come and help.”

 

This simple message (or any variation you
like) aims to achieve three things:

1)  
It listens to members and takes
their emotional side.

2)  
It gives members a place
(outside of the main discussion area) to talk more and help resolve the issue.
It shows you intend to take action to resolve it.

3)  
In this place, you can
gradually ask members to come up with a solution and gradually highlight the
possible constraints you’re working in.

It might not always work, but it’s far
better than telling angry members how wrong they are. 

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