How can a manager control his temper?

Which one is more effective: talking or barking?


When it comes to controlling emotions (temper) it is always easier said than done. But it can be trained and it all starts with creating self-awareness about our emotions. Having such awareness specifically denotes the importance of having a high degree of social & emotional intelligence in the discipline of management (the managing of others, whether employees, business relations or random members of our social circles).


We all know the cliché that is not so much a cliché actually but closer to a fact:

you can’t control something you do not know well


you cannot manage others if you can’t even manage yourself.

I try to remind myself that emotions can always choose the rational path of calm words (smart & effective communication) instead of deeds and automatic reactions (impulsive communication). But our emotional reactions are naturally faster than our rational considerations. That’s a bio-physiological fact we can’t do much about, but can only tame gradually through training and lots of practice.


If you think about it, you can always TALK about your emotions; how angry, disappointed, misunderstood, tensed, worried or impatient you are about a certain employee’s attitude or performance, instead of BARKING OUT these emotions.

But the problem of emotions control often arises when:

  1. We think that our true thought/position in a certain situation can only be fully communicated, understood & respected by others when it is accompanied by emotion.
  2. We think that others will only take us seriously when they see our emotions (which can be true by the way depending on your audience and their level of social intelligence)
  3. Talking is viewed as a sign of weakness (culturally or group-collectively) and barking as a form of strength (also, culturally or group-collectively).
  4. We are not the talking type that releases regularly and timely but the type that bottles up impressions about others until they evolve into powerful untameable emotions that erupt at once like a volcano in the most poorly-timed & destructive manner!


Controlling emotions does not necessarily imply suppressing them, but rather channelling them to reach effective communication. That’s why a face-to-face setting is usually preferred in solving conflicts, with as less external factors as possible influencing the calm & effectiveness of communication.

Communication is best served when conducted in a rational manner based on words and voiced thoughts that describe our emotions clearly & constructively, instead of uncontrolled eruptions that describe our words and thoughts poorly & destructively.


Which one is better a discussion or an argument?

Let’s compare both and find out for ourselves.

discussion at work-openanswer

A discussion is a communication style of which the outcome is not predefined, while having “mutual understanding” as a pre-determined final goal before entering into it. A discussion is supposed to lead to the best solution of a given problem, a clarification of a misunderstanding or the best valuation of an idea, to mention some random examples.

Such “understanding” is to be reached & accepted by all engaged parties at the end of a discussion, based on healthy communication, proper exchange of ideas, information or opinions and genuine agreement (as opposed to artificial one for the sake of muting “high volumes”). It’s a collective, non-selfish & constructive process by nature (even if no outcome is reached yet).

Quote Michael P. Watson

An argument, on the other hand, is characterised by the “will to win” clearly visible through the show of interruptive emotions. An argument is less effective than a discussion in most cases but can be necessary depending on the counterpart’s openness to having a calm discussion. Having an argument is mostly the result of us being unable to suppress whatever emotion that we have at a given moment of discussing a topic, whether anger, impatience, anxiety, disappointment or sadness etc.

Paradoxically enough, having an argument at such times can be a healthy release of pent-up negativity; one that needs to be out of the way, first, for a calm discussion to take place.


I find arguments to be generally ineffective & counter-productive than discussions because their goal is either:

  1. Predefined: when we argue for the sake of arguing (releasing negative energy because we WANT to), OR
  2. Non-defined at all, when we argue because that’s all we can do now (releasing negative energy because we CAN’T discuss calmly)

Quote by Joseph Joubert

Therefore, enforcing an arguing style of communication is a counter-productive, selfish & unfair form of communication aimed at convincing the other party of one’s points of views, legitimizing the use of irrational communication (shouts, fictitious outrage, refusal of agreement, interruptions, unmeant disagreements, lack of self-reflection, manipulation of facts etc.).

An argument is at its best when it means “a reason given in proof or rebuttal”, only as part of a debate or a discussion and not as a way of communication.