Do You Have a Temper Tantrum Problem?
Here’s a quiz for you leaders:
When you read the term, “temper tantrum”, what comes to mind?
A. Little children out of control?
B. Sports legends arguing with the refs or fighting with each other (Think Billy Martin, Bob Probert, or John McEnroe)?
C. Drunks in a bar?
In my experience as a coach, very seldom do I see people selecting “myself” as the answer to this little quiz. I find this rather sad, since so many people at work and in families report being scared of someone else’s temper. Since that someone else often has more power than they do, they feel powerless to do or say anything about it.
All too often, we fail to see how we may be guilty of having temper tantrums ourselves. We see it in others, but deny it in ourselves.
As an adult, we may not define our angry behavior as a temper tantrum. Maybe we think that it’s just “blowing off steam” or maybe it’s a “hissy fit..” Or that the other person “deserves it.”
No matter how we define it, we must recognize that what constitutes a temper tantrum is in the eyes of the beholder. If our behavior scares or threatens someone else, it is our problem. We may not be thinking that we are acting out, but the result is devastating to the receiver of the behavior.
If your behavior is intimidating or scary to someone else you work with or live with, it’s time to take a close look at yourself.
Here are some questions you might ask yourself to see if you have a problem with your temper
- When you get angry, does someone you care about get scared?
- Has anyone ever complained to you about your temper?
- Has your temper ever caused you to destroy something or damage something?
- Have you ever been violent to someone because of your temper?
- Does your temper scare you?
- Does your temper get worse when you drink alcohol or take drugs?
- When someone gets angry at you, is your first response to counterattack?
- Have you ever asked others who are close to you if they are afraid of your temper?
- Do you sometimes get really angry and have no idea why?
- Have you tried techniques to manage your temper?
While you consider these questions, think about how you feel about someone else being angry toward you. Rarely does anyone relish a leader who can’t control his or her temper. It’s simply never appropriate to get so worked up about something that you cannot contain your anger. Anger explosions just scare people and when they are scared, neither are they happy nor productive.
If people live in fear of someone else’s wrath, they are working from a negative: “don’t screw up or you’re going to get it” No one wants to live or work with that fear.
Next time I will discuss “How to Manage Your Anger”.