When an employee throws a temper tantrum

Dear Evil HR Lady,
I supervise a group of creatives for an internet business. I have a new addition to the team who is pretty young and 1.5 years into a career. The past month since this employee joined, the rest of the team has had to endure bursts of screams and yelling at the screen from said employee. The team members are getting very irritated and can’t handle the “fits of rage” that seem to be an almost daily occurrence. Neither do they enjoy the lack of team play and critical nature of ideas that bounce around the office, and neither can I. The “fits” seem to come from a lack of technical skills, because that is when they actually start.

I have tried to talk to the employee and ask that they quiet down and control themselves to no avail. What ways are available to win the employee over to play for the team and help them learn to calm down and think instead of burst into rage?

To read the answer click here: When an employee throws a temper tantrum

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5 thoughts on “When an employee throws a temper tantrum

  1. Yep, having been this employee, I can definitely say the PIP helps. The suggestions on how he can handle his frustration will be extremely helpful. There will be resentment at first (“What?! I’m not this way! They suck!” etc.), but it might actually give him a wake-up call. Since he’s relatively new to the working world, you’ll be doing him a favor by helping him nip this behavior in the bud before it becomes entrenched and damages his career.

    My PIP experience gave me this insight: it is a huge waste of energy to lose it over stuff I can’t control, and if I do leave a job over those things it’s better to do it on MY terms (i.e. a polite resignation) rather than be tossed out. I worked hard to get back on track and even though they ended up laying me and several others off, I was assured it wasn’t because of my performance.

    1. Yeah! I’m so happy to hear that the PIP helped. I love it when they actually work to fix a problem.

      1. Thanks. No matter how bad it gets, I CAN ALWAYS LEAVE. That was one of the things that was contributing to my frustration; because of the recession, I felt I had to put up with it.

  2. Excellent response, Suzanne! One thing I would add to the PIP: that he is expected to adhere to all company policies and procedures even beyond the period noted in the PIP (whether you call it a probationary period, or not). Almost anyone can be “good” for 60 or 90 days; so you need to be sure you’re clear he must continue to perform as expected even beyond that period. I have had employees come back and say “but I was good through the probationary period! Just because I screwed up on day 91, you shouldn’t fire me!:. Yep, it happens.

    1. Ha! That’s an excellent point and I totally did not think about that.

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