Don’t be afraid of anger – angry people can’t lie.

don't be afraid
Don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid of anger – angry people can’t lie.

The first step to resolve any conflict is to defuse anger.  But do not be afraid of anger.  An angry person can’t lie because anger is a primitive emotional response.  To lie, you must control your emotions and turn on your intellect.  So when someone is angry, whatever they are telling you contains some truth.  Beware that this does not stop good actors.  A good actor merely appears to be angry as they try to control the situation

There are several reasons for anger:

To vent. An angry person needs to let off steam and release the anger that may have been brewing for a long time.  To resolve the conflict you need to allow this to happen, but try to control it by reframing their issues. 

To get the listener’s attention. An angry person wants to know that you are paying attention.  Use good listening skills to demonstrate that you are paying attention.

To be heard. An angry person wants someone to listen to their point of view.  To resolve the conflict, you need to acknowledge the feelings you hear so that the speaker knows you appreciate how angry they are.

To be understood. An angry person wants someone to appreciate how they feel.  Therefore try to empathize with their experience so that they feel you understand the situation, and acknowledge their ‘right’ to feel the way they do.  This does not mean that you should agree with their justification.  You do want to remain neutral in the conflict and not pick sides.

**For the last decade I’ve been involved with leadership development of tomorrow’s leaders.  Using my expertise, I am training the youth leaders in conflict resolution.  This blog is adapted from my training materials. 


Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman ( has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

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