at the south by southwest interactive conference earlier this month, i went to a fun panel called “moms vs. management: parents make awesome managers,” featuring top managers/parents fromgoogle, pixar, sap and hot studio, a design firm.
the panelists applied various parenting concepts to common management challenges, such as treating kids (and employees) fairly but not always equally and the importance of play to generate ideas and develop social skills.
one of the most interesting discussions was about dealing with temperamental personalities. parents are often taught not to give into their children’s tantrums. many workplaces, especially creative environments, also have their share of highly volatile, yet talented personalities. managers are challenged when dealing with these office types, who may be skilled performers but are difficult to work with, demanding special treatment or blowing up in anger.
while the panelists cautioned against giving into these workers’ outbursts, they urged panelists to look at the underlying reasons for office tantrums. often, when kids act up they are hungry or tired. employees, similarly, may be feeling uncomfortable, insecure or bored. learning what’s behind a tantrum can help prevent future outbursts.
in some cases, though, workers might simply be talented jerks, and managers have to decide whether the skill is worth the agita.
readers, have any of you had experiences with temperamental personalities at work? have you ever had a temper tantrum at work? what led up to it?