I and another colleague were having a conversation with the head of a mid-sized company after I gave a speech at the breakfast meeting for the CEO Club. He was sharing his immense frustration with the lack of performance and toxic culture in one of his company’s offices. During the conversation, it became clear that he was not one to shy away from sharing a full range of emotions in his work as a leader. He was seemingly effusive when warranted, immensely caring when called for and willing to show his anger and disappointment when necessary. However, as the conversation continued, I began to wonder if his anger at the people and the situation in this office were seen as a productive part of this interactions with his team or if they came with a level of unpredictability that could be adding to the chaos.
As I discussed last week, anger, when shared appropriately, can help focus people on what’s important, create confidence, and create strong bonds. When it is erratic, seemingly comes out of nowhere, or is the first response to a wide variety of situations, it puts people on pins and needles as they wait for another eruption. It creates a scattershot approach to priorities as everyone tries to figure out and avoid what will cause the next outburst. It diminishes relationships because one minute things are great and the next minute the conversation has become a tirade.
Are there people in your company whose emotional outbursts are creating chaos?
About Edith Onderick-Harvey
Edith Onderick-Harvey is a highly regarded consultant, leadership and talent expert, and speaker. Edith is frequently quoted in the media including The New York Times, CNN.com, HR Executive, and American Executive. As the President of Factor In Talent, Edith works with leaders to take performance — their own, their team’s and their organization’s — to the next level.
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