Enemies at work? Control your temper

By Marie G. McIntyre

A staff member recently informed me I have enemies at work. This was both surprising and distressing, because I try to be professional and friendly with everyone. However, on stressful days, I will admit I have been known to lose my temper. My employee is reluctant to identify the people who are upset, so I don't know how to resolve the problem. What should I do about this?

Under different circumstances, I might think your staff member was being snarky. But given your admitted fits of temper, these "enemies" could have been created by your previous outbursts. Adults who throw tantrums typically underestimate the residual effects of their anger.

Once an emotional storm has passed, the perpetrator immediately moves on, but those subjected to it tend to have much longer memories. So even if your normal demeanor is "friendly and professional," intermittent bouts of rage can still wreak havoc.

For a supervisor, these explosive reactions are even more reprehensible, because they constitute an abuse of power.

To begin correcting the damage, list colleagues who have faced your wrath, then plan on making an apology tour. But first, be absolutely sure that you've mastered anger management, because apologies mean nothing without a change in behavior.

Marie G. McIntyre, a workplace coach, can be reached at