When Business Leaders Lose Their Cool
Fashion styles, food and rock bands can be the “rage,” but one thing that should never become the rage is managers who lose their temper in the workplace. Leaders who lose their cool can disengage an entire group of employees with a single emotional outburst. There’s no room for leaders losing their cool. Instead, they should develop leadership skills that make emotional outbursts unlikely when staff members fail to perform as expected.
Emotional outbursts in the workplace are never appropriate because emotions are driving responses when thoughtful logical responses are needed. Employees disappoint managers in a variety of ways, including missing deadlines, making serious project mistakes and not performing well as a team. Psychologists say that anger is a secondary emotion used to cover up fear, anxiety or worry. Instead of dealing with root causes, the leader shows irritation, annoyance or anger.
The question is: What is making this particular leader anxious or fearful? It’s probably a feeling of lack of control. The leader may feel inadequate or unable to manage the situation. Hostile thoughts form, creating a negative feeling expressed through a form of aggression. That leads to a situation where emotions drive behavior. The key to controlling behavior is to control thinking, and the best way to control thinking is through leadership training.
Perspective of Opportunity
A better leader sees employee adversity through the perspective of opportunity. Positive manager responses are assertive responses that rationally address the situation. Instead of yelling at the employee, the good leader calmly explains dissatisfaction with performance and the next steps to get back on track. Even if the employee or team fails to improve, the manager is more likely to have established a reasonable and justifiable foundation for termination, disciplinary action or additional training. This is critically important when a business wants to keep a union from organizing.
New Thinking Patterns
The way to overcome this kind of emotional outburst when employees disappoint or under-perform is to develop automatic positive thoughts, which lead to positive leadership behaviors. That’s not easy to do without training because people are creatures of habit. Positive leaders work to develop new thinking patterns that help them respond appropriately. They develop self-awareness, recognize the situation in the moment for what it is and can recall appropriate responses. A better leader gives measured responses, responds with composure and does not allow emotions to get in the way. The leader responds decisively and assumes accountability.
Dale Carnegie found there are important elements that drive engagement, and leading the list is the “relationship with the immediate supervisor.” And far more employees leave their manager than leave their company. Creating an unpleasant atmosphere disengages employees. If a leader’s temper does flare, it’s just as important to know how to reengage employees. Reengagement includes 1) recognizing the situation, 2) addressing the issues that triggered the outburst and 3) working on developing a higher level of emotional intelligence. Despite the saying, better leaders are not born. They are developed, and we have the roadmap to help you make it happen.