You are currently viewing Workplace Communication, Or, You Need to Calm the F Down

Workplace Communication, Or, You Need to Calm the F Down

This is going to be more of an anecdote than a highly technical guide, but I think it’s important: 

When I was working at a prominent transportation agency, I had a business partner who I’ll call Rachel. I was in charge of all the technical stuff, and Rachel was all business. She was the one who basically had to manage all the stuffed shirts over at corporate, and she is super emotionally intelligent – not to mention, she can take a face-melting like no one’s business and remain completely calm through it.  

But there was one occasion that I’m super not proud of, because I usually do not lose my shit around people (especially ones I like.) On this day, Rachel was running an important kickoff meeting with all of the senior players in it. And for the first time, she and I had not strategized on how we planned to do the meeting together.  

Anyway, she left out some key things that I thought were important to say, after which I called and screamed at her for about 15 minutes (which I will feel bad about for the rest of my life.)  

I was having one of those moments in which I was feeling super insecure about my position, there were weird politics and not a lot of effective communication going on in the workplace, and the proper business alignment we had worked so hard to achieve had just flown out the window – all things that still didn’t justify my melting Rachel’s face off. 

So, I came into her office the next day and said, “Rachel, I’m very, very sorry. This is not how I usually operate, which you know, and here’s why I was so upset about these things.”  

And she said, “Honestly, I’ve seen you lose your temper a couple of times, I’ve just never been on the receiving end of it. And I figured there was more going on, so no worries. But here’s what we’re going to do to fix the problem…” 

That day, I ordered a pink candle that says on the front, ‘Girl, you need to calm the F down.’ I gave the candle to Rachel. And I told her, “Anytime you see me losing my temper about anything, or you think I’m getting too heated about a topic, I need you to just hold up the candle.”  

For the next year and a half, I could probably count on one hand how many times it happened, but I would get heated about something and from behind her desk, Rachel would simply hold the candle up and defuse the situation immediately.  

There are a lot of overly complicated lessons in leadership and workplace communication I could impart to you, but the mostly truly helpful is this: 

You need to calm the F down. 

XOXO, 

Tim 

P.S. Workplace communication is one of the most vital pieces of proper business alignment – which is something every enterprise needs. Want to take advantage of StarSpring’s expertise? Get in touch with us.