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Working with Hot Head Harry

Working with Hot Head Harry

Have you ever dealt with an explosive manager? The one that blows up in a meeting and loses his temper. He freaks out, says a few choice words, harshly disagrees with people, and basically has a meltdown.  I call these people Hot Head Harry’s or Harriet’s, or H3’s.

When they later calm down and realize the error of their ways, many of them are apologetic. H3’s wear toxic emotions on their sleeves and have not learned when anger is appropriate. When things don’t go their way, certified H3’s go nuclear and decimate meetings, projects, productivity and morale.

One time I had a compensation analyst who was working with an H3 manager.  During a meeting between the two of them, the H3 had a meltdown about the level of a position’s job grade. The grade was not high enough, his head exploded, plus yelled a few choice words at my employee. Our compensation analyst was shaken and returned to the human resource office ready to quit.

After talking with our compensation analyst, I gave the H3 24 hours and then I called him and calmly explained why this type of behavior was not acceptable in the workplace.  I explained you cannot terrorize employees and expect them to respect and perform work for you. We had a very good, respectful and productive conversation.  We made progress.  Our H3 was contained. He was very apologetic and everything worked out in this situation.

If you have an H3 in your office, give him a chance to see the error of his ways.  Sometimes it is good to have people who are respectfully passionate about things in the workplace.


Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees' desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.


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