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Take an active stance against workplace hostility
Why do people become verbally abusive?
Why do people become verbally abusive? Often the reason is because they’re starved for attention and use hostility as a way to avoid being ignored. Hostile language can force people to pay attention to them, and the pain their behavior causes is irrelevant. The solution: Explain the inappropriateness of their behavior, and make clear that you won’t tolerate abusiveness. Be sure to listen to their ideas and grievances, but teach them more effective ways of commanding the attention of their managers and peers.
—Adapted from How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable, by Suzette Haden Elgin (Wiley)