You’ve probably heard jargon such as “He’s got a short fuse,” “I’ve had it up to here,” “She is going to blow up,” or other phrases that equate to irrational behavior and poor emotional control. It is safe to say that many of us, likely all of us have felt this way at one time or another. At some point we have blown our tops and acted irrational in one way or another.
The Tipping Point
While I admit to having reached this tipping more than a few times throughout my life, it still is unacceptable in any situation. In my blog posted on July 23rd, The All Star Athlete Doesn’t Necessarily Make A Good Coach, I quoted a real life employee who had reached her tipping point as indicated by the feedback she provided in an organization assessment.
While reaching this point doesn’t mean one is ineffective or poor at their job, it is something one should learn to control. I’m not saying you can’t be passionate or engaged in work, because that is important too. What I am saying is when you start to feel an emotionally investment in a project, meeting or conversation, it is important to share your thoughts, feedback, and perspective with respect. Don’t allow emotions or passion to be trapped where it builds up uncontrollable pressure. If you do, this pressure will compound continually over time and cause more frustration. This build-up often leads to behaving irrationally or unprofessionally.
Avoid The Tipping Point
One way to avoid reaching the tipping point is to properly engage your team, employees, or managers in open and candid discussion. For example, set ground rules before team meetings for dealing with heated issues. Some examples of ground rules to experiment with in your next meeting include:
- Everyone must actively participate
- No side conversations
- Avoid getting defensive
- Be authentic in your comments and behavior
- Stay focused on the topic or issue at hand
- Don’t shoot down other people’s ideas. Take the best, leave the rest.
Establishing ground rules often helps people express themselves, their ideas, and their passion in a way that doesn’t alienate. Simply put, don’t hold out until you’re emotionally invested.