How To Control Your
He Is Unable To Control Himself)
By SecraTerri ~
your temper means losing control. And losing control means losing a
part of yourself.
least ... that's how
it can feel sometimes. Regardless of your age.
losing your temper is
a frightening experience for an adult, just imagine how much more
frightening it is for your
boss, who has not yet had a
chance to fully develop
his anger-management skills.
your jobs as his
Executive Assistant is to help your toddler
boss experience intense emotions -- such as frustration,
jealousy, and most especially anger -- without losing that
of self, until he has acquired the necessary tools to help him
manage these emotions himself.
until you get a call back on that résumé you sent
out this morning: whichever happens first.)
are some tips that
Simply saying "Yes, I see you,
and yes, I understand that you are angry"
is an important first step. This allows your
boss to retain his sense of *self* and personal dignity, while his
out-of-control emotions play themselves out.
I see you glaring at me from across the hall. But I am not looking at
you. See me not looking at you? Oh wait: in order for me to see you
seeing me not
looking at you, I would have to actually be looking
at you. And I'm not. Looking
at you, I mean. See?)
Remember: his loss of control can be just as frightening and
bewildering to your
boss as it is to you. Reassure him that everybody feels angry sometimes
... and that you know it can be a very scary thing, no matter how old
how many professional licenses you have hanging upside down on your
office wall. )
Even if he isn't
interested in your comfort or reassurance at that moment ("Shut
my door on your way out! SHUT
it! SHUT IT!"),
try to still maintain proximity and visibility. He will derive comfort
the mere sight of you sitting nearby, even if he is unable or unwilling
to communicate with you in a rational manner just yet.
effort on your
boss' part to control his emotions, however small or insignificant it
("I see that
you've stopped snapping your pens in half. That's very very good. Now
let's work on gluing your coffee cup back together.")
This will encourage him to try harder in the future, for the reward of
your approval, which -- although he may not yet have the words to
tell you so -- is very important to him.
Often a temper tantrum is triggered by your
boss' inability to complete simple motor-skills tasks, such as opening
or closing a door, feeding himself, dressing or undressing, or
manipulating ordinary objects. Calmly performing the task for him ("The
staples load from the top,
OK?") is sometimes all it takes
to calm him down and get him back on track emotionally.
Try speaking to him in a quiet monotone. It doesn't really matter what
you say to him: it is the comfort of your voice, speaking in a
non-threatening manner, that will get his attention and calm him.
Reciting nursery rhymes is good. So are nonsense syllables, Dr. Seuss,
simple poetry, Bible verses, or familiar television commercial
(Or try reading him that
*newly-revised revision of the revised draft agenda.*)
The important thing is keeping your voice at a soothing pitch, free of
A nutritious snack ... a cup of fruit juice ... a brisk walk in the
park, followed by a thirty minute nap ... all of these physical
comforts can do wonders to transform even the most unreasonable
boss into a calm and rational person again.
if that doesn't work, schedule him another four-hour "business
boss, by example, that there are more appropriate methods of channeling
his anger than slamming doors, stomping his
feet, biting, hitting, kicking or using vulgar language.
Franz! I am putting your 'newly-revised revision of the revised draft
agenda' into the shredder! We call it 'Confetti Therapy!'")
Bright colors, funny faces,
unexpected noises, new toys ("This is
called a 'pencil sharpener' ")
... all can serve as effective distractions when your
boss is having difficulty regaining his emotional balance. The key here
is the element of surprise. In the heat of even the most violent of
tantrums, what toddler
boss could help but be surprised -- and delighted --
by a pretty
balloon or an amusing Donald Duck impression? (Or
a sudden noisy wet *raspberry* to the belly button?)
Try it! It may be just the touch of spontaneous silliness that diffuses
the tension and saves the moment.
gets your Executive Ass arrested.
But that's another story for another day.)
This is another form of distraction ... albeit more subtle.
trick here is not to
confuse him to the point of disorientation, or frustration, or
heightened agitation. He's already there. What you want to do is force
him to stop and puzzle his way through a confusing situation or
statement ... just long enough for some of his anger to dissipate.
I need your input on the company picnic. We've got to start planning it
now if we want to get the best vaccination rates. I've circled some
calendar choices in your book and made some preliminary calls this
afternoon to the mortician, and he thinks that if we keep the headcount
around 45 to 50, tops, we should all be able to fit into the trunk of
the Volkswagen without any problem. As long as we're all naked, that
is, and nobody brings their dog. What do you
all else fails ... ignore him.
When you've exhausted every other solution ... when you've tried every
trick and tip in your arsenal ... sometimes the only thing you can do
is ignore him.
In other words: just
walk away and let his anger wind down, without any help from you.
It may seem a little
cruel. It may sound like bad
Executive Assituding. But it is also remarkably effective when used
occasionally, because it forces your toddler
boss to see that you may not always be interested
in cleaning up after him ... figuratively OR literally.
Franz. As much as I would love to stay and mop the lunchroom with my
again ... it's National SecraTerri's Day. And I am OUT of here.)