Aggressive Leadership Methods blog, Gene Moran logo, and angry businessmen.

Aggressive Leadership Methods

Do you have aggressive leadership methods?

​“You never showed me these numbers!”

“You’re lying! I never approved this quote.”

“We never discussed this—ever!”

“You’re wrong. You can’t be serious!”

85 decibels are the level of noise that OSHA declares one should be wearing hearing protection. 

The exultations above are bellowing into the cell phone of a passenger in first class upon reaching our destination. He’s in full-transmit mode, screaming at a subordinate for nearly a minute-and-a-half. I’m witnessing what could be a viral moment if someone videos the scene.

How do you respond when your emotions creep up on you? Click To Tweet

At the two-minute mark, the passenger appears unaware that he’s still on a plane surrounded by others with no choice but to listen.

 “I know. I’ve got your back, man.”

“I’m your friend, man.”

“I don’t think we ever talked about this.”

He was simmering down now, and a flight attendant was signaling for him to lower his voice. The offending passenger looks around meekly and calms himself. But it’s too late. He can’t recover his “cool.”

Aggressive Leadership Methods: No Longer Tolerated


I was reminded of a time when I was privileged to observe US Navy flag officers who were attending a transition course prior to their impending retirement. The leader asked the class to raise their hands if they had yelled at a subordinate or lost their cool in the past month and year. Most raised their hands, acknowledging their own shortcoming of occasionally “blowing a gasket.”

The course leader, now-role playing an executive hiring official, asked, “Tell me more about what makes you lose your cool several times a year.” 

The message was clear that you can’t rationalize it away, and aggressive leadership methods that may have once had a place on active duty are not tolerated in industry.

Providing a Supportive Culture in Your Work Environment


I watched the recent Academy Awards and Will Smith’s response to a poor joke by Chris Rock. The exchange was pathetic in both directions: Rock’s tasteless joke making fun of someone’s physical appearance, and an emotional response that evoked something darker, much deeper, and irrational in Smith.

In our business relationships, we learn that people respond to emotion. But people also want to feel they’re in control, and that they have the respect of those around them. Some companies invest lots of time and energy into providing a supportive culture in their work environment. 

My guess is that the passenger above doesn’t have that sort of work environment. If he does, his 90-second tirade took a wrecking ball to whatever positive culture may exist.

The flag officers above were learning through a moment of “calibration” when the subject of self-composure was brought up in a learning environment.

The scene at the Academy Awards confirms boorish behavior can emerge anywhere despite the glitz and glamour of the setting.

How do you respond when your emotions creep up on you?

The Make Your Move podcast is a multi-season series devoted to the lessons learned of military members in their post-active duty lives. I hope you enjoy the stories of the men and women brave enough to share their transition stories so publicly. Listen to the latest episode here.

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