"I want you the f*** out of here you f****** p****", "Shut the
f*** up", and "You are f****** unprofessional" are just a few of
the choice phrases Christian Bale used during his three minute 49 second dress down to someone
working on his set. While I hope we can agree that this is a
fairly extreme example of bad anger-management, there are all too
many managers who simply can't keep their cool.
There are even some who think it's good practise - that inspiring fear into the hearts of their employees asserts their status and makes sure everyone knows who's boss.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Keeping calm shows that you can keep your head under pressure - which inspires the confidence of both colleagues and investors. Only a bad manager fails to realise that a failure to control one's temper translates as a failure to lead effectively.
Not to mention that it sets a pretty shoddy standard - unless you want your employees to be behaving like a bunch of unruly two-year-olds who haven't been fed.
Finding firm but constructive way to say things is a much more productive way of communicating.
You're a lot more likely to get your way if you go about things more subtly and on better terms than if you shout someone's head off. Cajole people and persuade them with a smile.
Do you remember when you were a teenager, and your parents said, "We're not angry - just disappointed." It was always like a needle through the heart - one that really affected you and made you want to do better.
The employee-employer relationship is not that dissimilar to parent-child (albeit hopefully with less hormonal fluctuation).
For both children and employees, the guilt of letting someone down can be very powerful. It tends to evoke a sense of reduced pride rather than immediately flicking on the self-defence switch. An employee who feels ashamed that they have failed to live up to their employer's expectations is much more likely to try to rectify the situation than one who feels yelled at and victimised.
Authority figures get through best when they express themselves clearly, calmly, and with a reasonable explanation of why they are unhappy with what the employee has done.
Constructive criticism is vital - a survey of 1,400 senior executives questioned by the Ken Blanchard Group Companies consultancy found that that not providing adequate feedback, praise or constructive criticism was the top leadership mistake, with 80% of the execs guilty of not doing it.
And it's called "constructive criticism" for a reason. It should be positive, not belittling and rage-infused.
Besides which, only a bad manager would fail to realise that respect is far more valuable than terror.
An open, easygoing nature will inspire employees to come to you with their original and amazing ideas, insights and innovations - rather than shying away from you in the office. And they'll admire you rather than slagging you off around the water cooler.
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