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Anger stage

 

Disciplines > Change Management > The Kübler-Ross grief cycle > Anger stage

Symptoms | Treatment | See also

 

In the Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle, the third stage is one of outraged anger. In order, the stages are: Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Testing, Acceptance.

Symptoms

The next step after denial is a sudden swing into anger, which often occurs in an explosion of emotion, where the bottled-up feelings of the previous stages are expulsed in a huge outpouring of grief. Whoever is in the way is likely to be blamed. In a company this includes the managers, peers, shareholders customers and suppliers. The phrase 'Why me?' may be repeated in an endless loop in their heads. A part of this anger thus is 'Why not you?', which fuels their anger at the those who are not affected, or perhaps not as seriously so.

Treatment

When they are angry, the best thing you can do is give them space, allowing them to rail and bellow. The more the storm blows, the sooner it will blow itself out.

Where anger becomes destructive then it must be addressed directly. As necessary, you may need to remind people of appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Reframe their anger into useful channels, such as problem areas and ways to move foreword.

Beware, when faced with anger, of it becoming an argument where you may push them back into denial or cause later problems. Support their anger. Accept it. Let them be angry at you.

See also

Coping Mechanisms

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, On Death and Dying, Macmillan, NY, 1969

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