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The Seven-step Process of Handling Hostile Behavior

You will likely face hostile-aggressive behavior at work. You may think ignoring it is a viable option, but this is unrealistic. Also, dealing with hostile-aggressive behavior provides benefits you’ll want to take advantage of:

  • increased productivity — Dealing effectively with hostile-aggressive people helps you reduce the stress caused by their bad behavior. And a less stressful work environment facilitates improved health and increased workplace productivity.
  • improved self-esteem — Improved self-esteem is another possible benefit. Suppose you interpret a hostile- aggressive person’s behavior as a personal attack — this can be damaging to your self-esteem. Learning to effectively handle hostile-aggressive behavior will reduce its damaging effects, plus you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • a regained sense of control — It can be hard to deal with hostile-aggressive behavior calmly. You may find yourself losing control or feeling like you’ve lost control. Knowing how to deal with hostile-aggressive behavior can help you regain your sense of control. This will allow you to avoid being drawn into the negative behavior, so you’re part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Hostile-aggressive behavior

Hostile-aggressive individuals are bullies and controllers. Their general method of operation is to look strong by making others look weak. It’s not unusual for them to yell during exchanges with others, and they tend to be offensive, belligerent, and bad listeners. And they typically have a resentful attitude.

People with hostile-aggressive personalities are sometimes classified as two types: the verbal assailant and the hothead:

  • verbal assailants — Verbal assailants tend to attack with words. They come across as openly abusive and tend to be abrupt, intimidating, and overwhelming. They attack at the personal level and generally pick an aspect of an individual’s behavior or personality to fuel the attack.
  • hotheads — Hotheads are prone to sudden outbursts of anger and rage, even when everything seems to be going well. A hothead’s anger tends to be triggered when the individual perceives a physical or psychological threat. The hothead’s anger is likely to be followed by fear and suspicion.


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