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The Emotionally Dysregulated Manager & Leader

Are you a manager or leader who screams and shouts at their employees as a lunatic? Can I ask a question? What do you truly expect to happen after you have finished shouting? Do you expect people to perform better? To learn something they haven't learned before? To respect you? To be scared of you? Or to listen to you and do as they are told? News flash! None of that will happen! What will happen is that they won't do the behaviour you are shouting at them for in front of you, but they won't do what you want them to do either. 


My cat is the perfect example. He knows he cannot jump on anything in the house —no sofa, no chairs, no counter, etc.- and he doesn't as long as I am around because he knows he will get it. Every morning, when I come to the kitchen, I see his paw prints on the counter. He is trained like a dog and knows he cannot enter the bedroom, but I will never get him not to jump on the counter when I am not around. This is exactly what your employees do when you are shouting at them. They behave well when you are around, but the moment you are not there... We cannot call it an effective training, can we? 


The good news is that we can train humans to do what we want them to do even if we are not around. Thank God they are not like cats:-) But how do we do that?


Positive reinforcement! Reward people for the behaviour you want them to do more of! When you see they are doing something good, notice it, comment on it, and say, that was great! Do more of that! Adjusting behaviour takes a long time, so don't lose your sh.t and start screaming because "you have already told them three times. When you change ingrained behaviour, you look at months of work, which raises a question. If we know that changing behaviour takes continuous, long-term effort, do companies invest enough time and resources into developing their employees to expect results? They probably don't. Hence, it is an unreasonable expectation followed by the punishment during appraisal time. They expect employees to change their behaviour after feedback, a good dressing down, a training course, three coaching or mentoring sessions or after their appraisal. Unfortunately, humans do not work that way. Humans require long-term investment. So, what would that look like? The good news is that it doesn't have to cost money. 


Positive reinforcement and supervision. This is what I don't do with my cat at night therefore, the second I close the bedroom door, he is on the counter. How do I know? First, he learned that once I go to the bedroom, I don't leave until 5 am. Second, on rare occasions when I go out because I forgot something, I can see him jumping off the counter:-) So I scold him and usher him back to his cat tower. Instead, I should supervise him (come out often and teach him that I can show up any time) and reward him when he is not on the counter. But I don't do it. I choose sleep and cleaning over staying up at night to train the cat. Instead, I start every day by disinfecting the counter. I could choose to get upset or shout at him every morning like the emotionally dysregulated manager or leader, but I don't. I don't because I know I haven't trained him to behave as I would like him, even when I am not around. It is my fault, I haven't invested enough in his training. 


So next time, when you are losing your marbles looking like a lunatic think about these; Have you invested enough in your people to expect results? What do you want to achieve with the shouting? 


PS: This is for L&D: If you have an emotionally dysregulated manager or leader, please don't send them for EQ training. They have different problems, and you will not solve them. Sit down with the person and explain that it is unacceptable and that whatever problem the person faces, he/she must sort it out. If the shouting continues, fire the person. You should not be wasting company resources on emotionally unstable people. The fix will take years. 


Here is some exciting news! My second book, " The Blind Leading the Disengaged - From Kindergarten to Employee Experience," is dropping in May! It's a treasure trove of solutions and cool ideas to shake up your people management game. But before we get there, let's chat about where we're at now—The Corporate Kindergarten, as I spilt the beans in my first book. Check it out, and let's transform your workplace from a daycare to an awesome employee experience hub!:




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