You lose when you lose your temper
Stu, project manager for a Northwest mechanical contracting company, told Session 2 of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
“It was 1995 and I was working at the Hatfield Federal Courthouse for Hanset Stainless, a small architectural metal contractor. I had my first cell phone at that time; a phone so large that it nearly required a backpack to get it around. To refer to this ‘brick phone’ as a mobile device was a partial truth at best!
“One of my tasks was procuring and coordinating delivery of material to our job site. The material access to the building was exclusively via tower crane. The tower crane was scheduled in a weekly coordination meeting and time slots were divided into 15 minute increments. We were allowed two slots per week after critical path activities.
“During one particularly critical tower crane window, the scheduled material delivery failed to arrive at the scheduled time. I paced, walked the streets, and repeatedly called the driver, shop and office, all to no avail. Finally, in a fit of anger and frustration, I threw my cell phone against a column, shattering the phone into a million little pieces. Nearly as soon as the phone left my hand, I was approached by a Hoffman project engineer who informed me that another crane slot was available the following morning. I suddenly realized that my only vehicle for rearranging the missed shipment was shattered all over the slab. Wow, did I have egg on my face!
“The lesson I learned from this experience is to control my temper. Lost temper results in destructive actions. I learned that when I lose my temper, I cut off communication with people, people whose support I need to keep my projects on schedule.
“The action I call you to take is to think twice – n o think thrice – count to 10 before you lose your temper in a fit of rage. The
benefit you will gain is you will keep the egg off your face. You will be proud of yourself and earn the respect and trust of those whose support you need.”
I have heard thousands of “egg on your face” stories over the past 25+ years. I especially like this one because it makes the point that lost tempers inevitably result in broken communication. The line of communication and trust that are required for successful project management can never be kept open if we allow the ego to dominate our behavior, lose our temper, or break into little fits of rage.
If you are one of those who still thinks the only way you can make a point or get the results you need is by hollering and shouting, if you still think that displays of anger are a sign of manly strength, stop and reexamine some of the costs in broken relationships and/or lost respect of key players or maybe even family members who have chosen to simply leave.
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