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Taming tantrums in the workplace

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Taming tantrums in the workplace

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To question is to think. To think is to introspect. To introspect is to seek. To seek is to be aware. Being aware is when the journey begins.

Angry birds don’t get the grains.

Are any of your colleagues angry or upset most of the time? Are there any tantrums you’ve thrown or seen someone on your team throw?

We have all encountered leaders who are unstable or controlled by their temper. What impact has their behavior had on your performance or the performance of your organization? And because we all have different mechanisms for dealing with anger, were you able to complete your tasks? Or have you been bothered by anger all around your workplace?

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It is quite common to see some leaders lose their temper. I’m sure you’ve been the victim of a boss’ angry tirade in a meeting, or seen the boss berate a colleague in front of the others. We are all going to experience such public displays of anger. However, venting our frustration on our team members often makes the workplace culture toxic.

Manage temper tantrums

Adult temper tantrums are surprisingly tolerated, although they have a negative impact on everyone around them. Routinely, such outbursts are dismissed as “decompressing” or “de-stressing.” Reactions to temper tantrums actually involve short-term, reactive thinking. You can’t avoid being angry, but you have to build adequate coping mechanisms to maintain decorum.

If we all got angry in response to someone else’s anger and started venting loudly, the world would be a deafening place to be.

The question is, do you know your coping mechanism? Whether it’s advice, therapy, having a mentor or a coach. Exercise. Music. Books. Walks. There are lots of options. Find what works for you.

How do effective leaders fare?

Effective leaders are self-aware. They are aware of their weaknesses as much as they know their strengths. They are working to improve both.

Conventional thinking is that when stress is high and the pressure mounts, it’s easy to lose your cool. The reality is that not everyone loses their temper in situations beyond their control. What’s the point of getting angry if you can’t control the outcome?

A good organizational culture allows adequate management of human problems such as anger, stress, etc. At the same time, she will not tolerate the usual abuse of these, as they impact everyone in the organization.

The unpleasant sequel

Can you apologize after a tantrum? Or is it a sign of weakness?

How do you tell your reporting manager that he is creating a bad environment with mood issues? How do I report a repeat offender?

How do you solve a toxic culture? When do you escalate the issue to HR? Is your HR so aligned with leaders that they might ignore your complaints?

Do you then report the problem to the board? Does your organization have a whistleblower policy?

How do you stay calm despite being pressured to withdraw your complaint? Should you leave the organization if it receives no complaints about the founders/CXOs?

As a board member, are you aware of the personality issues that are wreaking havoc in the organization? Would you confront a culture-destroying CEO/CXO with temperament issues?

Look around you

Or don’t you even know the team members beyond those you meet in the conference room at the time of the presentation? If so, then shouldn’t you?

Well, there have been enough teams that have been destroyed by anger issues. It’s never too late or too early to intervene, to solve an anger problem at work.

–The author, Srinath Sridharan is a company independent market advisor and commentator. For other articles in the Coach-Soch series, click here.

(Edited by : Vijay Anand)

Taming tantrums in the workplace

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