Many workplaces have flare-up hotheads, whose fits of temper are excused because they’re rare, they end on a positive and productive note, and they’re not offensive. But what can managers do about the people who insist on throwing tantrums unless they get their way?
First, try to determine why this person insists on throwing tantrums.
Simple. It’s because he or she has effectively used it and gotten away with it. It probably began in childhood, and it’s always worked for this person.
But now, it’s disrupting the workplace and people are complaining. Just talking to this person won’t do any good.
You need a game plan.
- Put together a personal improvement plan, working with the person’s manager. Pinpoint problems and make it clear this type of behavior is not acceptable. It’s detrimental to everyone. Unless this behavior stops, the person will be fired.
- Repeat what the end result will be, if there’s no improvement. You’re outta here. No more chances. That’s it.
- Offer strategies for dealing with the frustrations that trigger tantrums. Go for a walk. Get a drink of water. Go to the bathroom and sit in a stall for a while. Ask for help.
- Tell this person you would like to see him/her succeed. Suggest they come talk to you if they really need help.
- As serious as you are about termination, you might want to provide a bit of slack in the person’s leash. It doesn’t have to be a one-and-done — if there have been solid signs of improvement.
Perhaps this person will learn to harness the tantrum energy and apply it to the job.
Stranger things have happened.