Tantrums are frightening.
Whether it is an employee, a customer or a dog out of control, tantrum behavior is so visceral, self-defeating and unpredictable, rational participants want nothing more than to make it go away.
And so the customer service rep or boss works to calm the tantrum thrower, which does nothing but worsens the behavior, setting the stage for ever more tantrums.
Consider three ideas to calm down the tantrums thrower:
- Listen to the person, not the tantrum;
- Tantrums want to deal with tantrums;
- Create systems to avoid it in the first place.
When an employee calls you up, furious, in mid-tantrum, it Is tempting to placate or to argue back. That is the tantrum pressing your buttons.
Instead, ask him to write down every thing that is bothering him, along with what he hopes you will do, and then call you back.
Or even better, meet with you tomorrow.
Email tantrums are similar.
If someone sends you an email tantrum, don’t respond, point by point, proving that you are correct.
Instead, consider ways to de-escalate, not by giving in to the argument, but by refusing to have the argument.
Engaging in the middle of a tantrum rewards the tantrum by giving it your attention: and it makes it likely that you will get caught up, and say or do something that, in the mind of the tantrum-thrower, justifies the tantrum.
If your dog is going crazy, straining at the leash and barking, it turns out that yelling, “sit,” is going to do no good at all, no matter how loudly you yell.
No, the secret is to not take your dog to this park, not at this time of day, at least not until you figure out how to create more positive cycles for him.
Eliminate the trigger, you start to eliminate the tantrum.
When the cost of throwing a tantrum is high and when the systems are in place to eliminate the triggers, tantrum behavior goes down.
The problem with taking offense is that it is really hard to figure out what to do with it after you are done using it.
Better to just leave offense on the talk and walk away.
Offense is taken, not given.
Offense untaken quietly disappears.
Train your mind to be calm in every situation.