So Serena Williams let the f-bombs hurl at the US Open and it cost her the championship title. For those of you who are not tennis fans, just Google it or go to You Tube and you’ll know what I’m talking about. She got a $10,000 fine which is small potatoes for her. What was so much worse for her was that she lost a coveted championship title. Don’t you lose your cool in business. It will cost you. I’ve seen it and you’ve got to take steps to avoid flying off the handle at work.
I have a client who works in a stress-filled working environment. The pressure is on to produce and emotions are high in many meetings. He has a boss who is mostly good to work for. The only aspect of his behavior that’s a problem is that he has a temper. The boss is nice most of the time. In fact, he goes out of his way to do things that are generous and thoughtful. If he gets a gift card for a restaurant for his kids, he’ll buy a few extra and give them away at the office. He does other nice things, too. If only that were the entire range of his behaviors at work!
Then there’s the black cloud he brings to the office. In meetings, if he disagrees he explodes. He’ll yell at his subordinates in a tone of voice and a volume that manages to rattle them and make them feel horrible. This is what happened to one of my clients. The yelling made him more and more depressed.
Even though he was a star performer, he began to seriously think about leaving the company. This is despite numerous raises, a great salary and feelings of friendship for all of his peers. If the manager knew this, do you think he would change his behavior? I’ve got to believe he would. When I talked with my client, I asked him if he planned on telling his boss about the effect the boss was having on him. He said, “I can’t.” Wrong answer!
My biggest mistake in business was not standing up to bullies or bullying behavior at work. Don’t you make the same mistake that I did. People who are behaving badly sometimes don’t realize what they’re doing. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. They also can’t read minds. So how will they know that they’re causing all kinds of distractions and pain for so many people? They don’t. That’s why you have to tell them.
It gets dangerous to confront them when they’re flying off the handle. That’s why you have to tell them what they’re doing in a setting without the emotions. If you don’t, you may lose your cool, too.
Here’s what I suggested he say. Tell your boss you need to meet with him. Then at the meeting tell your boss that you value him as a leader. It’s just that when he starts yelling at you, your perception of him as a leader is diminished. What you’re doing is tapping in to the boss’s need to be seen as an effective leader. Knowing that his behavior is costing him his personal power and prestige should be enough of a wake up call that he realizes that his behavior has to change. I’ll let you know what happens.