How To Deal With An Explosive Coworker In 10 Unexplored Ways

Written By Aleena

If you have a coworker prone to outbursts and explosive behavior, it can be challenging to handle them. Here are some tips on how to deal with an explosive coworker:

Firstly, an explosive coworker can be a liability to your team. If they are constantly causing disruption, it can be difficult for your team to get work done.

10 Ways To Deal With An Explosive Coworker

Therefore, it is essential to deal with an explosive coworker. Here are some tips:

1. Avoid Trigger Words:

Be careful of the words you use around an explosive coworker.

Certain words can trigger explosive behavior. If you can avoid using these trigger words, it will help keep the peace. 

How To Deal With An Explosive Coworker

For instance:

– Don’t tell them they’re wrong

– Also, don’t criticize their work

– Don’t tell them to calm down

Explosive people are often susceptible to criticism. Therefore, it is essential to avoid using words that trigger volatile behavior.

2. Stay Calm With Them:

Also, try to avoid heated debates with an explosive coworker.

Having a calm discussion will be more productive than a heated argument if you can have a quiet conversation.

Stay collected even if they are being extra mad. This will help to diffuse the situation.

When talking to them, try to use a calm and soothing tone. This will help to keep them quiet.

For instance:

– “I understand that you’re upset. Let’s talk about this calmly.”

– “I know you’re mad, but yelling isn’t going to help the situation.”

3. Set Boundaries With Them:

In addition, it is essential to set boundaries with an explosive coworker.

Let them know what you will tolerate and what you won’t tolerate. Make sure they understand what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

Explain to them that their outburst is causing problems for the team. If they violate your boundaries, then take action. 

For example, you could speak to your manager about their behavior. Or, you could stop working with them on projects.

4. Avoid Them When Possible:

If they are causing disruption, it might be best to stay away from them.

You can still be polite and professional with them, but don’t engage in long conversations.

It might also be good to avoid working with them on projects. If possible, try to distance yourself from them.

Some other ways to avoid them are:

– Eat lunch at a different time

– Take breaks at different times

– Work on different floors

5. Seek Help From Management:

If an explosive coworker is causing problems for your team, seek help from management.

Your manager can talk to them about their behavior and help to set boundaries. 

If the situation is not resolved, your manager can take further action. 

For instance, they could be moved to a different team, or they could be fired.

Companies have different policies for dealing with disruptive employees. Therefore, it is essential to check with your HR department to see the procedure.

6. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally:

An explosive person often has underlying issues that do not do with you.

Therefore, don’t take their behavior personally. It is not about you.

How To Deal With An Explosive Coworker

Try to be understanding and empathize with them. Remember, they are not in a good place mentally.

To be understanding, you could say something like:

– “I know you’re going through a tough time. I’m here for you if you need to talk.”

– “It sounds like you’re feeling outraged. Would you like to talk about it?”

7. Use “I” Statements:

When dealing with an explosive coworker, using “I” statements is essential. 

For example:

Instead of saying, “you’re being disruptive,” you could say, “I feel like you’re being disruptive.”

This will help to avoid triggering their explosive behavior.

In addition, it is essential to be assertive when using “I” statements. For example, you could say, “I need you to stop yelling at me.”

It will be easier for them to listen to you if you are assertive and confident when you speak.

8. Seek Professional Help For Them:

If an explosive coworker is causing severe problems, they need professional help.

This is the last resort option. But, if nothing else is working, then it might be the best thing to do.

You can talk to your manager about getting them professional help.

Or, you could speak to HR about the situation. They can arrange anger-management counseling for the employee.

9. Seek Professional Help For Yourself:

Not only for them but also for yourself.

Dealing with an explosive coworker can be very stressful. If you find it hard to cope, then seek professional help yourself.

This could be in the form of counseling or therapy. But it is essential to get the support you need to deal with the situation.

10. Be Ready For The Worst:

An explosive person is unpredictable. They could lash out at any time without warning. 

Therefore, it is essential to be ready for the worst. Make sure you know what to do if they become violent.

And always have an exit strategy in case you need to leave quickly. For instance:

– Keep your car keys close by

– Know where the exits are

– Have a plan to get away from them quickly

If you are ever in a situation where you feel threatened, always call 911.

Can You Be Explosive With An Explosive Coworker?

We know that it can be very tempting to lash out at an explosive coworker. But, this is not the best solution.

It will only make the situation worse and could escalate into violence.

Therefore, it is essential to remain calm and professional with them.

Rational frame of mind.

If you need to, walk away from the situation and calm down before saying or doing anything you might regret.

You can not reason with an explosive person. They are not in a rational frame of mind.

And, trying to reason with them will only make them angrier.

So, the best thing you can do is avoid them and try to stay calm.

5 Reasons For Explosive Behavior

An explosive person often has underlying issues that cause their behavior.

These could be things like:

1. Mental Health Problems:

An explosive person could be suffering from mental health problems. This is often the case with people who have anger issues. 

Mental health problems can be very complex. And they can make it difficult for a person to control their emotions. 

If you think that an explosive coworker might have mental health issues, you should speak to HR about it.

They can arrange for the employee to get counseling or therapy.

2. Personal Problems:

An explosive person could be going through personal problems. This could be anything from relationship difficulties to money troubles. 

Personal problems can be very stressful. And, they can make it difficult for a person to cope with work.

Speak to them about it and listen to them to make them feel heard.

Let them know that you are there for them and offer to help in any way you can.

3. Substance Abuse:

Abusing drugs or alcohol could also be the reason. This is often the case with people struggling to cope with work. 

Substance abuse

Substance abuse can make it difficult for a person to control their emotions. And it can make them act explosively.

It is an illegal activity. And, you should report it to HR if you think that an employee is doing it.

4. Stress:

Stress is another common reason why people lash out. Workplaces can be very stressful environments.

And, some people find it hard to cope with the pressure. This can lead to them snapping and acting explosively.

Workplace stress can be easily managed. But, if an employee is struggling to cope, you should speak to HR about it.

They can provide support and assistance.

5. Poor Work Environment:

A poor work environment can also be the reason. This includes things like:

– Bullying

– Harassment

– Lack of support from management

– Poor working conditions

If an employee is being treated poorly at work, it can lead to snapping and acting out.

Speak to HR about it if you think that this is the case. They can investigate the situation and take action if necessary.

4 Signs That Someone Might Become Explosive

You can look for sure signs that might indicate that someone is about to become explosive. These include:

1. They Are Isolating Themselves:

An employee might start to isolate themselves from the rest of the team. This could be a sign that they are struggling to cope.

They might start to take more breaks or leave early. And they might stop participating in team activities.

This behavior should be well monitored. And, it would help if you spoke to the employee about it.

2. They Are Acting Differently:

Acting differently is another sign that someone might be about to become explosive. This could include things like:

– Being more withdrawn

– Being more aggressive

– And, being more irritable

– Having mood swings

Acting differently

If you notice that an employee is acting differently, you should speak to them about it.

3. They Are Making Threats:

An employee might start to make threats. This could be anything from saying that they will quit to making physical threats. 

Threats should always be seriously taken. And you should report them to HR immediately.

4. They Are Talking About Problems:

When an employee starts to talk about their problems, it might signify that they’re not well.

They might start to open up about personal problems or vent about work.

If an employee is talking about their problems, you should listen to them. And, it would help if you offered to help in any way you can.


So here it is, an overview of dealing with an explosive coworker.

If you think that someone might become explosive, you should keep an eye out for the signs.

And, you should always report any threats to HR immediately. Finally, try to be there for the person and offer them support.

Last Updated on 2 years by Shahzaib Arshad


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