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Saturday, January 21, 2012

How to deal with anger and public lashings

Anger is something I beleive has no part in any business, with a few exceptions.  For the most part, every member of the team, even people who make mistakes (which is all of us if we're human), should be treated with respect at all times.

Personally I've never received a lashing.  By no means does that mean I haven't made mistakes, because Lord knows I've made every one in the book at least once.  Yet I've been lucky in that way.  Yet many times I've seen my coworkers get a public lashing. 

In fact, just yeasterday I watched as a doctor lashed at a nurse because the nurse made a decision the doctor disaproved of.  The doctor was right in what she was lashing the nurse about, yet the doctor was wrong in the manner to which she dealt with the situation.

Later in the day I pulled said doctor aside.  I wanted to do this in private.  I said, "Dr. Mashing, I don't mean to be disrespectful, but if you treat all your nurses like that no one's going to want to work here."

"I'm sorry, yet I can't have doctors disrespecting my orders like that," she said.  "I need my patients..."

"Look, I think you are in the right there.  My point is that by lashing at a nurse like that, humiliating her in front of all her coworkers, is not a good idea.  If you have a problem you really should deal with it in a more professional manner.  Again, you are right.  I agree with you 100 percent, yet getting angry at that nurse the way you did is not productive at all."

I hated doing that, yet I had to.  Too many times where I work people are afraid to talk to doctors about innapropriate behavior, and nothing ever gets done. If I could count the times I left this job to the powers that be and nothing was ever done -- no waves made -- I'd be retired and rich by now.

So how about a couple definitions:

1.  Anger:  Solves no problems.  Anger means you are assuming you know what's best and accept no other reasoning. 

2.  Lashing:  Pointing out someones flaws or errors in an angry and inappropriate and nonprofessional fashion; intentional public humiliation

So, how do you deal with an angry person
  1. Don't let the person crawl under your skin
  2. Stay silent (keep your lips shut)
  3. Walk away
  4. You can say, "And you have a good day too, and walk away." 
  5. Keep your head held high and take it like a professional
  6. Say yes sir or yes ma'am (if you're not to ticked to speak)
My favorite is #4 because you're letting the person know he's being unprofessional and it gets you out of the room.  I think if someone is humiliating you the best thing to do is walk away.  I don't think anyone has to stay in the room and be humiliated like that.

There are exceptions.  If the person lashing you is your boss, and you're not sure that person will come to his or her senses, then you will have no choice to stand there with your mouth shut. 

After the lashing, make sure you stay away from that person if possible.  Do not think you can discuss anything with that person later thinking you can fix things.  If you have a discussion with her, do it the next day with cooler heads.

Yet if you don't think you can solve the problem by dealing with that person, go to another person, like that person's boss.  Yet more often or not the situation will blow over and you'll never need to mention it except for in a blog post like this. 

Bottom line, anger solves nothing.  It's an absolute waste of time and results in nothing in people losing respect for the person delivering the lashing.  Understand that people make mistakes, and someday you will err too.  Hopefully when you do err you won't get a lashing by one of your peers in a public place.


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