Swimming With Alligators


Anger is the first impulsive response for many humans when a rule is disobeyed, when a mistake is made, when a job is not done on time, when someone opposes your opinion, or when someone behaves badly. Anger is an emotional attack on a human sometimes followed by blame for being stupid, careless, not punctual or reliable, disobedient, and shamefully guilty.

Sometimes anger expressed by a loud voice at young unreasoning offspring is a valid signal that they did something very wrong or very bad. It can be an emotional threat not to do a very bad behavior again or punishment such as privilege removal or spanking will follow.

With adults anger is frequently the wrong attitude because it puts the offenders in a defensive mood and they will get upset or angry too and frequently feel that your anger is unjustified.

An open minded approach is best where you ask a few questions first and try to get at the real reason why a rule was broken or a mistake made. Whether the violation was intentional or unintentional is important and if it was unintentional then they shouldn’t get blamed but you should both try to work out a plan of action and a promise that it will not happen again if possible.

“Do you know what to do so it (the violation) doesn’t happen again?”  This puts responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the offender and if they honestly don’t know how to avoid doing it a second time then you can calmly discuss and offer advice on how to avoid a similar failure in the future.

A disobeyed rule, mistake, or bad behavior may happen more than once and it may be your job as an authority figure to dish out appropriate punishment if it is starting to become a bad habit. Revoking privileges, threatening with firing, and actually firing an employee may have to be done if the disobedience or bad job performance becomes intolerable or unbearable or threatens the smooth operation of the business.

Very frequently we feel that our opinions are valid or true and if someone opposes them we might feel angry and want to start an argument. With adults it is best to ask why they have an opinion or belief about something which is much different than yours. You may learn that there is more than one way at looking at things, doing something, or reaching a goal.

Frequently opinions about politics, religion, and sports will be much different than yours and you should learn to live and let live without arguing since those topics will seldom affect job performance or your life in any significant way.


A stubborn, inflexible, and defensive authority figure is a tyrant who thinks they are always right and insists that all their demands are to be met without questioning permitted.  The typical attitude is “I have done it this way for years and we will continue to do it my way into the foreseeable future.”

As with all rules there are sometimes exceptions to them in real life. An authority figure who doesn’t understand that there are rare exceptions to rules or that there is more than one way of achieving a desired goal and that one way is more efficient than another will fail at just leadership many times to the detriment of the organization.

Not keeping open communication with employees and encouraging input in the form of new ideas or new ways of doing something better means that the business will stagnate and not be open to improvement with new technology or better operating procedures.

Tyrannical leadership occasionally works managing low level workers with unchanging defined tasks but it is a terrible failure when trying to achieve teamwork in an organization where each employee can make new vital contributions at reaching team goals. Teamwork means flexibility and open two way communication between members and leadership.


Anger, blame, and attack whenever possible should be replaced by discussion, assigning responsibility, and giving a human a second chance at doing something right.

Stubbornness, inflexibility, and defensiveness whenever possible should be replaced by some open mindedness, some flexibility, and cooperation, especially if teamwork is involved to achieve a goal or goals.

With young unreasoning offspring anger and stubborn discipline may be necessary to stop very bad behavior before someone gets hurt but in adult good relationships anger and stubbornness will only create unnecessary  barriers to good two way communications and mutual problem solving.

If you liked this evergreen blog read more of them and read one or more of my evergreen books, especially COMMON SENSE.


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