Shooting from the Hip: How loud and how angry?


Professionals are able to get their work done without using emotion to signify urgency.

When a doctor asks the nurse for a scalpel, she does not have to raise her voice, stamp her foot or even make a face. She merely asks for a scalpel from the nurse.

When a pilot hits a tough spot, as we saw with Captain Sullenberger doing an emergency landing at the Hudson River after having a bird strike, he didn’t yell at the air traffic control or his co-pilot. He described the situation and got the help he needed.

And despite what you may have seen in the movies, successful share traders don’t have to start screaming when there’s more money at risk.

Compare this to the amateur world of media, of customer service and of marketing. Whoever yells the loudest gets our attention. Twitter users who use cutting language to get someone at a company to feel badly. Emailers who should know better who mark their notes as urgent, even when they are not. Politicians who take offence as if offence was on sale.

It should be clear (compared to say, astronauts and surgeons) that these people are not angry because so much is at stake. They are angry because they think it works. Because attention is reserved in those industries for those who decide to demonstrate their emotions by throwing a tantrum.

The problem with requiring people to be loud and angry to get things done is that you are now surrounded by people who are loud and angry.

What happens if you take a professional approach with the people you work with or people close to you, rewarding people who properly prioritise their requests (demands) and ignoring those that seek to escalate via vitriol, rant and anger? What happens if you consistently enforce a rule against tantrums?

If you go first, by consistently rewarding thoughtful exchanges and refusing to leap merely because it’s raining anger, the people you work with will get the message (or move on).

A pitfall of throwing tantrums is that sometimes, people throw them back or leave you.

Shooting from the hip is never the best way to get your point across because you may discover that after some time, there is no longer anyone across, they left because they couldn’t take your rant.

Professionals are able to get their work done without using emotion to signify urgency.


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