I am a mother of a beautiful young professional but at one time, she was an unruly teenage girl with all the emotional outburst and temper tantrums you can imagine. If you are a parent of a teen girl, you can relate with the trial and error of having to figure out how to deal with the emotion, strong words that cut to the bone and irrational behavior.
But with practice, you learn to command the room with poise and a calmness that would turn any chaotic situation into Sunday gathering at church.
So what have I learned that could help you deal with that Office Screamer you have on hand?
I too have had to deal with an office screamer. In my case, he was the CEO of our company who felt that it was appropriate to yell, name call and have temper tantrums down the hallway. We on the executive team use to call it the parting of the Red Sea because when he was in his moods, you would see the hustle and bustle of the employees parting the hallways to avoid eye contact with him.
So whether the tantrum is coming from a boss above or an employee in your leadership chain, these tips will help diffuse any situation.
First, remain calm and “speak in your inside voice”. This trick has been proven to create a sense of calmness because as humans we are wired to mirror our partners. So don’t engage in the bad behavior and start screaming back. No matter how right you are. – I know it is tempting, but your first goal is to diffuse the situation.
Second, you will never resolve the issue while one party is in that heightened state, so sometimes it is best to walk away and deal with the issue once things calm down. Right now, it isn’t important to get resolution, only to diffuse the situation to a point of reasonableness.
Lastly, this is the magic weapon. There are two words that are sure to diffuse any situation. “You’re Right”. By using these words, you immediately validate whatever triggered their emotion and is sure to bring them down a few notches. Now remember, you are not stating they are right in everything they said, but try this.. “You’re right, I can see from your perspective how you would get there, but let me share with you what I thinking from my perspective.”
Why does this work?
Simply, it first causes an element of surprise. Your opponent is expecting you to react to the situation but in reality, you want to go the opposite way by remaining calm and speaking in a calm voice.
It will force your opponent to reflect on their behavior and actions. In the heat of the moment, people often forget they are acting in hast and it isn’t personal, the moment you start acting in the appropriate behavior, you will get the screamer to think about how they are responding to you.
Tell me about your screamer. How did you handle the situation?