My Employee is Angry at Me

my employee is angry at me

It can be very hard to get work done, let alone good work done, on a good day when all your employees and teams are happy. But when your team is not working together, it’s even worse. What if someone or multiple employees on your team are angry with you? What process should you follow to solve this issue before it becomes a problem?

If your employee is angry at you, there could be multiple reasons, and you need to have an honest, open conversation with the employee. After that, make sure you earnestly try to take action to solve the issues. Although some of these reasons for them being angry may be your fault, some may not be. Above all, even if you can’t fix a problem, you have shown with this honest, open conversation that you care about your employees.

The following process will help you build back trust.

Have You Crossed The Line?

Right up front, I must ask: Have you crossed the line? Do you know that you did something wrong or even illegal? Do you have any feelings of guilt? Every situation will be different, so I can not give you exact advice or even tell you where “the line” may be. 

Did you do something that can be forgiven?  If it’s not classed as a crime then maybe you can turn this situation around. Prepare an apology, give it to the employee honestly, and document it. There is no guarantee this will work, but it’s worth a try. If they do accept your apology then continue with this blog post. If they do not accept your apology, then you may need to get a lawyer, but the apology may help your cause.

Is what you did considered a crime? If so, I would advise you to get a lawyer right now. Do not follow the remainder of the advice in this blog post. If you’ve done wrong, following any further advice in this blog post could make things worse. Your lawyer will give you further advice.

my employee is angry at me
My employee is angry at me

Have an Honest, Open Conversation

Communication is the starting point for most human resource and employee-related issues. Above all, you must find out exactly what your employee is thinking. Therefore, you need to have an honest, open conversation. In addition, it is important to have this conversation sooner rather than later because small issues left alone can become big problems!

Invite your employee to the meeting and let them know that you are working to better your relationship with them. So, for their comfort and safety, allow them to bring a trusted friend or coworker to this meeting.

Make sure you are prepared to listen and support your employee, no matter what you learn in this conversation. For instance, ensure you have a pen and paper to take notes. More importantly, have support information like your Employee Assistance Program info or suicide awareness & prevention info. Moreover, you want to be prepared with the hope the issue is not that serious.

Start the conversation by telling them right out what you are seeing and what you are perceiving from this. Follow up by saying you want to help and support them but need to understand what they are thinking and feeling. Now, give your employee time to speak and don’t interrupt them until they say they are done. Therefore, this is the time to listen and make quick notes.

When your employee has finished speaking, ask them what they want to see done or corrected. After that, try to address the solutions or work on acceptable compromises.

If the Problem is Not You

For you, as the owner or manager, the best case is that your employee perceived anger towards you is not your fault. Unfortunately, this may mean that you can’t really directly help your employee by making real changes at work. However, if you get creative with them, maybe you can create some sort of support mechanism for them and other employees in similar situations.

In other words, this still may be a great opportunity to do good.

Ultimately, you need to be there for them, showing support, maybe even publicly, if they’re comfortable with that.

If the Problem is You

Unfortunately, as an HR Professional, I see that the owner or manager is the problem in many situations. Sometimes, they’re the problem because a system, policy, or process has already been defined, and the choice has been taken away from them. That means that even if they wanted to do something different in their minds, they couldn’t. Other times, the owner or manager only thinks about the bottom line, statistics, and the ability to make a profit. However, this second method always leads to employee issues.

If the problem is you, get feedback and show you’re working on it. However, you may need to apologize to reassure the employee that you are sincere formally. Above all, do not give this “lip service,” as this correction process will take months or even years to fix.

  • First, you need to do your research into the issue so you can make some quality changes.
  • Second, you need to continue asking for feedback from the employee monthly or at least quarterly.
  • Finally, make sure these changes can be duplicated to ensure other employees down the road are not negatively affected.

Build Long Term Trust

The first step to building long-term trust is an honest, open conversation. Secondly, getting feedback is important. Thirdly, trust is built by actions, so make sure you do what you say you would do. Fourthly, following up on your conversation and actions will help you get a second round of valuable feedback. Finally, after weeks, months, or years, you may start to regain or build that trust with the employee you have lost.

Having employees who trust you helps to create happy employees. And happy employees mean you will have happy customers and clients!

Will this work if my employee is rude to me?

A rude employee is a sign of disrespect for you as the owner or manager. Moreover, you may not know why you have lost this employee’s respect. So, yes, this process will allow you to discover why the employee is rude. You can’t correct the situation if you don’t know why the employee is rude.

That being said, if your organization has a culture of being rude or allowing crude jokes, this may be a bigger issue you must tackle. Therefore, if it’s a bigger issue, you may have to do team or organization-wide meetings to address this, not just one-on-one conversations.

Will this work if my employee hates me or doesn’t like me?

If you know the employee hates you, then you must do this! Unfortunately, that honest, open conversation might be high tension with much yelling. Therefore, ensure you invite a trusted friend or coworker to the meeting but follow the same process. In addition, expect a long period before this employee will trust or like you again.

Will this work if my employee doesn’t talk to me?

There may be two reasons this employee is not talking to you. First, they could hate you, so see above. Secondly, they could be intimidated by you. So, if they are intimidated by you, you still have the honest, open conversation process, but you need to be extra nice to them. In other words, don’t try to make the meeting intimidating and find a way to show them you are not what they think.

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Moving Forward

Building and keeping trust is such an important thing in any organization. As an owner or manager, I highly recommend reading two or three books on building trust this year. Click here now to see the great selection of trust-building booksOpens in a new tab. on Amazon.

As a small business owner or manager, you can be very busy. Therefore, there is no shame in seeking help with human resources. However, before you do, you may want to better understand the role of human resources by reading our other blog post.

I hope this blog post helps to answer your questions about how to deal with an employee who is angry at you!

For human resources support in Canada, click here to book a free HR needs assessment now. If you’re on a budget, consider joining my Patreon to ask unlimitedOpens in a new tab. HR questions. If you need HR advice sooner, book a consultation via Fiverr here.

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Ian Hopfe

Ian Hopfe is the owner of LBH Business Services Inc. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Ian is an Indigenous Human Resources Consultant. He has over ten years experience in HR and over fifteen years experience in management. All blog articles on this website are written by Ian unless a guest writer is indicated on the post.

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