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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — It took a relationship coach to shed some light for me on the genesis of bad behavior in the workplace. It is not an anger management issue, this consultant maintains, it is a problem with the individual’s maturity.

Christie Edwards, a savvy Starkville, MS – based healthcare marketing/strategy consultant, ran a marriage counseling boot camp for couples for a number of years. She believes that leaders who erupt in fits of anger by yelling, threatening and belittling subordinates are not acting their age. Whilst this might be the case for some leaders, it could also be a sign of a developing mental illness. Sometimes, stress can really get on top of people, causing them to experience bursts of anger. If this keeps happening, it might be worth recommending that the business leader considers visiting a website like https://www.privatetherapy.com/services/anger/ to get some help with this illness. Perhaps that could be useful, it isn’t always immaturity.


“When executives berate their team members I always want to ask: What age is that?”

She said executives would never dream of behaving in that manner in front of peers or, more importantly, in front of their governing board. “They treat their employees badly because they can get away with it.”

Employees of yesteryear frequently would just take the abuse because they worried about losing their job or worse, that their protests would lead to even more intense ridicule. But the days of unchecked leadership abuse are rapidly disappearing. Younger employees – the Millennials and soon Generation Z – will not tolerate that kind of workplace humiliation. They will walk on a job with the same level of emotional commitment and fervor that they are displaying with the horrendous school shooting tragedies.

To be fair, there are documented instances where the anger issues were related to a leader’s overall health. In some cases medications coupled with job frustrations can impair an individual’s sense of restraint and lead to unpleasant eruptions. While that is more of an explanation, it cannot be tolerated any more than excuses for abusive acts arising from a leader’s descent into a profound state of immaturity.

It is a new day and employees and governing boards are increasingly saying to these executives, straighten up – or grow up – and fly right. If they don’t feel that imperative, today’s faster than ever boards will act, and the CEO or offending senior leader will be sent to the sidelines.

It is not the end of the world but this kind of bad behavior news travels the informal recruiting industry network at the speed of light. Executives who see the error of their ways can recover but it will not be easy. They will need an outplacement coach who specializes in this type of career brand makeover, and even then there are no guarantees.

The better solution is a mirror and an honest conversation with the face in that mirror, and then to find the challenging road of meaningful redemption.


Editor’s Note: Check out John’s video blog on Saturday morning at his YouTube Channel. It debuts around 11 AM Central Time. This week John focuses in on work/life balance and some wise advice from Gay Gaddis, CEO and Founder of T3, an innovative Austin advertising and marketing consultancy.