Businessman Screaming at a Colleague

Giving the Steam a Tea Kettle

PACT’S Three-Part series on managing conflict, Hostility and Violence in the Workplace.

Tension. Stress. Conflict. They’re as much a part of today’s workplace as overflowing e-mail boxes. The American workplace is fertile ground for anxiety and aggression, as employees are asked to do more in less time, while job promotions and security fade. In spite of this potential for “steam” in the workplace, there is little training on how to defuse incendiary interactions with customers or co-workers.

Giving the Steam a Tea Kettle is a series of three programs that focus on how we understand, identify and manage hostility and aggression. It is designed for organizations that want to reduce tension and conflict in the workplace safely and constructively, with an emphasis on preventing volatile or litigious situations.

   The Three Training Programs in the Series are:

Managing Conflict

The goal of the program is to enhance the abilities of participants to understand and manage the dynamics of conflict. The objectives of the program are to:

  • Examine conflict and its impact on work and work relations,
  • Examine conflict management styles, and
  • Enhance abilities to manage emotions and stress associated with conflict.
  • Exploring conflict through the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Styles Instrument
  • Recognizing conflict styles through PACT’s drama-based simulation
  • Understanding the dynamics of conflict
  • Conflict management skills
  • Practicing conflict skills through PACT’s Structured Improvisation™? training exercise
  • Exploring steam and how different people manage conflict
  • How steam is manifested in our thoughts, our bodies, our emotions, our choices and our behaviors
  • Identifying defensive communication behaviors (“crazymakers”) through PACT’s drama-based simulation
  • Practicing skills in responding to defensive behaviors
  • Lowering the steam through PACT’s SAFE? model:

Seek to Understand
Acknowledge Emotion
Focus on Interest and Consequences
Encourage Alternative Outcomes

Practicing conflict management skills through PACT’s Structured Improvisation™? training exercises

Lowering Hostility

The goal of the program is to increase skills in lowering hostility and aggression. The objectives of the program are to:

  • Examine anger and its impact on health, work and relationships;
  • Identify how we develop cynical thoughts, negative emotions and hostile behaviors; and
  • Practice lowering hostility in ourselves and others.
  • An anger management self-test
  • Exploring the relationship between cynicism, anger and aggression
  • The physical effects of hostility
  • Myths and facts about anger
  • Exploring cynicism, anger and aggression through PACT’s drama-based simulation
  • Small group experiential exercise on responses to tension and stress
  • Exploring how our methods of managing anger evolve over time
  • Tools to lower hostility: stopping our hostile thoughts, feelings and urges
  • Stress reduction techniques
  • How emotions affect our interactions
  • The effects of hostility in the workplace
  • Exploring passive-aggressive and aggressive behaviors
  • Practicing skills in lowering others’ hostility through PACT’s Structured Improvisation™? training exercises
Preventing Workplace Violence

The goal of the program is to provide an appropriate process to address potential or actual workplace violence. The objectives of the program are to:

  • Increase knowledge of the prevalence, causes and types of violence in the workplace,
  • Enhance signal detection of potential workplace violence situations, and
  • Examine best practices to prevent, defuse and manage workplace violence.
  • Exploring workplace violence: definitions, classifications and prevalence of workplace violence
  • Criteria for a safe work environment
  • Assessing the causes and consequences of workplace violence
  • Examining the dynamics and consequences of employee-initiated violence through PACT’s drama-based simulation
  • Assessing situations through PACT’s SOLE Assessment Model?:


  • Exploring the risk factors for violence: the combination of the person, the organizational environment, and stress
  • Consequences of workplace violence
  • Practicing how to report an incident using PACT’s Structured Improvisation™? training exercises
  • Examining Anger and Aggression
  • Exploring how participants learned about the emotion of anger through a group experiential exercise
  • Responding to workplace violence and to a violence-prone person
  • Practicing working with a potentially violent employee using PACT’s Structured Improvisation™? training exercises
  • Small group exercise to examine participants’ work areas to assess potential workplace violence