3 Things Leaders Should Never Do After a Heated Argument
Lost your cool at work? It happens. What you don’t do next is what really matters.
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Nothing get solved. Every little nuance will become magnified until its breaking point.
Yelling, screaming, and door slamming is far from a professional way to conduct oneself, and many people's worst nightmare. It doesn't happen often, but we can all agree that once is definitely enough.
Whether you're on the giving or receiving end of this type of behavior, what you do next could make or break the culture after an office showdown. Especially if people start taking sides, it can become a very slippery slope, and a hard one to dig yourself out of -- unless you do things right.
As the person in charge, it's your role to start amending the relationship. Even if an argument only involves two people, it affects everyone in the office. Your staff will be looking to their leadership team to see how well they handle the situation.
Before you decide what to do, it's important to highlight what not to do. Navigating a course of action can be difficult, especially if you make the following three mistakes post-argument:
1. Pretend like nothing happened.
Now that you've had some time to cool down, you may regret things that were said and how they were delivered. It will probably bring up feelings of guilt, embarrassment and even shame. So instead of reliving it all over again, it may seem like a good idea to sweep it under the rug and pretend like it never happened.
Wrong decision. This is a cowardly way to handle any situation. You have to address what happened, because feelings were likely hurt and confusion on where to go from here needs to be clarified. Be the first person to extend the olive branch and begin your next steps.
2. Talk about it too soon.
When emotions are running high, no one is thinking rationally. Scheduling a meeting to talk about an argument that happened an hour before is never a good idea.
You both need breathing room. The cool-down period is imperative to repair what happened. It gives people time to consult others, vent their frustrations and reflect on what they should have done differently. You'll both need to take a step back in order to exercise understanding and empathy.
Schedule a meeting the next day first thing in the morning. Meet off-site like a coffee shop, as this will likely put both of you at ease and make it a more casual setting. Returning to the scene of the crime is not going to help your cause.
3. Accept all the blame.
In order to make peace, we often assume all of the blame. Don't confuse this with taking the high road. Being a leader doesn't mean you need to be the punching bag or the door mat.
If your argument was valid and the other person was out of line, they need to step up and take responsibility. Otherwise, you're giving them permission to act out in the future.
If you lost your cool and didn't conduct yourself in a controlled manner, then yes, you should definitely apologize. If you were doing so because the other person was way out of line, don't give them all the credit.