7 Essential Steps To Handle Employee Overreactions

Written By Aleena

Sometimes, an employee might get upset over small things. It can be annoying, but it happens to everyone sometimes. Let’s talk about how to handle an employee who overreacts.

Overreaction in the workplace is not uncommon. It can happen to even the best of us.

Key Takeaways:

  • Overreactions in the workplace are common but need addressing promptly.
  • If someone overreacts, talk to them privately. Find out why they’re upset, help them fix the problem, and offer support if needed.
  • Yelling, throwing things, getting physical, refusing to work, or storming out is not okay. Depending on how bad it is, take action.
  • People might overreact because of stress, lack of sleep, problems at home, drugs or alcohol, mental health issues, fights with coworkers, or a bad work environment.
  • The best way to handle this is to talk things out, solve problems together, offer help, and improve the workplace.

7 Steps To Handle An Employee Who Overreacts

If someone at work gets upset too easily all the time, it’s not good for them or the company.

So, let’s talk about how to deal with an employee who overreacts a lot.

Step 1. Talk To The Employee Privately:

If an employee overreacts a lot, talk to them alone.

This will allow you to get to the root of the problem and find out what is causing the overreaction.

How To Handle An Employee Who Overreacts (2)

You can start by saying, “I noticed you’re frustrated lately. Is there something we can talk about?”

Then, listen closely to what they have to say. Maybe there’s a good reason they’re upset.

Step 2. Try To Understand The Reasons Behind The Overreaction:

After talking to the employee and determining the cause of the outburst, you’ll need to know how to fix it.

Talk to the employee and find out why they got so upset.

Was it something going on outside of work that made them mad? Or was it something work-related?

Step 3. Help The Employee Find A Solution:

Once you have identified the reasons behind the overreaction, try to help the employee find a solution.

For instance:

  • Personal stuff is getting to them? Give them some time away from work.
  • Is work piling up? Lighten their load or offer some extra hands.
  • Clashing with someone? Help them work it out.
  • Deadlines stressing them? See if they can have more time.
  • Difficult customer? Maybe someone else can take the call.

Step 4. Help The Employee To Relax:

If the overreaction is due to stress, help the employee to relax.

Suggest ways to unwind if a worker seems stressed: taking a break, relaxation exercises, or music.

If they can, let them take some time off. A calm work environment helps everyone feel better.

Step 5. Follow Up:

After you try the fixes, check in with the employee. See if they’re still getting upset easily.

If so, figure out why and try something new.

How To Handle An Employee Who Overreacts (2)

Changes at work can take some getting used to. Be patient with your employees as they adjust.

Offer your support and let them know you’re there to help them through it.

Step 6. Set Some Ground Rules:

If someone keeps getting upset over small things, try these tips:

  • Give them a chance to cool down. Suggest they take a break if they feel themselves getting worked up.
  • Talk things through first. Let them know they should come to you before taking any action when they’re upset.

7. Seek Help From A Professional:

If the overreaction is severe and nothing seems to be working, you may need to seek help from a professional.

A professional will be able to assess the situation and provide further help.

They can also offer guidance on how to deal with the overreaction.

Sometimes, overreacting can be a sign of a bigger problem. If nothing else works, it’s important to get help from a professional.

Here are some tips for dealing with an employee who overreacts.

Some Overreactions And A Guide To Solve Them

Let’s break down some overreactions and how you can solve them:

1. Yelling:

Someone yelling at work can be upsetting and make things tense. Here are some tips for calming things down:

  • Speak calmly to the person who is yelling.
  • Suggest they take a break.
  • If they keep yelling, ask them to leave.

Yelling is often caused by stress. Try to help the person relax.

2. Throwing Things:

If an employee gets upset and throws things, it can be dangerous.

Here’s what to do:

  • Talk to them calmly and try to help them relax.
  • Ask them to stop throwing things.
  • If they keep throwing things, tell them to leave.

3. Becoming Physical:

If someone gets upset and shoves, it’s NOT okay. Here’s what to do:

  • Stay calm and try to calm them down.
  • If they keep acting out, call security for help.
Call security.

Becoming physical can be very dangerous. It would help if you took immediate action.

4. Refusing To Work:

If employees do not work, it can mess up the workplace. Here’s what you can do:

  • Talk to the employee and find out why they’re not working.
  • Help them fix the problem.
  • If they still don’t work, you might have to take some action to discipline them.

5. Storming Out:

If an employee walks out angry, it can hurt the workplace. To fix this, try:

  • Talking to the employee to see what’s wrong.
  • Helping them solve the problem.

Storming out is often a sign that the employee is unhappy with something.

Now you know some of the overreactions that employees might have. Let’s move on to the issue which cause them:

Some Triggers And How To Solve Them

Let’s get to the root causes of the overreactions:

1. Stress:

When people are feeling stressed, they might overreact. Here are some things that can cause stress:

  • Too much work
  • Not enough time to finish work
  • Deadlines that are too close
  • Difficult projects

There are ways to feel less stressed, like:

  • Taking short breaks throughout the day
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Eating healthy meals
  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Trying calming activities like meditation

2. Lack Of Sleep:

Being tired can make you cranky and blow things out of proportion.

Here are some tips to help employees avoid this:

  • Get more sleep at night.
  • Take breaks throughout the day.
  • Exercise regularly.

3. Personal Problems:

Life events can cause strong emotions like overreacting.

Personal problems

If someone you work with is struggling, you can help by:

  • Talking with them about it
  • Trying to find a solution together

Remember, these problems can be complex. The goal is to support them in finding a solution on their own

4. Drugs Or Alcohol:

Another trigger for overreactions is drugs or alcohol. When we take drugs or alcohol, we are more likely to become aggressive and overreact.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  • You can talk to the person about their drinking and encourage them to get help.
  • The person can take some time off work to get better.
  • You might need to take some disciplinary action.

5. Mental Health Problems:

Some feelings can make people react strongly. These feelings can be:

  • Feeling down (depression)
  • Feeling worried or scared (anxiety)
  • Trouble focusing or controlling thoughts (like ADHD or OCD)

If someone at work is having these feelings, they can:

  • Talk to a doctor who helps with feelings (mental health professional)
  • Take time off to feel better (sick leave)

6. Conflict With Co-Workers:

Getting along with co-workers can be tough sometimes. Here’s why things might clash:

  • Not being on the same page
  • People have different approaches
  • Personalities that don’t quite match
As soon as possible resolve conflict

To resolve the conflict:

  • Help them talk it out and find a solution together.
  • Encourage them to work as a team.
  • Disciplinary action might be necessary.

7. Poor Work Environment:

A bad workplace can make people overreact.

This can happen because of:

  • Bosses who don’t do their job well.
  • Unpleasant work conditions.
  • Low pay.

Even though you can’t always fix the workplace, you can try:

  • Talking to workers about what’s bothering them.
  • Finding ways to make the work area nicer.
  • Giving workers more money (if possible).


People overreact for many reasons, but there are ways to calm down.

The key is to figure out why you’re overreacting and fix that.

Start with the most obvious reasons that upset you, and try to deal with them individually.

You might be surprised how easy it is to stay calm most of the time.

Last Updated on 5 hours by Usama Ali


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