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Boiling Point

December 14, 2021 By The Siren Of Support Leave a comment

Water boils at 212℉. At this point you have a few options, reduce the heat and let it simmer. Stand back and watch it boil over.  Or remove the pot from the heat source to prevent any possible disaster. Most people have a boiling point as well, we have that point at which our lid could potentially blow. 

Joe Cool is overwhelmed. The phone won’t stop ringing. The to-do list just keeps getting longer no matter how many tasks are checked off. Questions aren’t getting answered quickly. There are more problems than solutions. Joe is usually pretty even tempered and just goes with the flow but has officially lost his cool. Joe stands up, throws his headset on his desk and exclaims, “I’ve had it, I quit, I can’t do this anymore”! 

What Joe means is that he can’t do it anymore, right now. Joe isn’t quitting his job, he’s quitting the moment. Joe may need to take a step back, get out of the heat and let the water settle. How do you prevent Joe from hitting the boiling stage? What do you do when Joe is simmering? How do you help a teammate cool down and avoid eruption? 

  • Ice Bath For One Please: Take five, or rather give five. Give your employee or a teammate the option to walk away. The quicker they can  cool down the more chance you have at avoiding a blow up. A jaunt around the parking lot, a phone call to mom, or simply just a change of scenery can be all that’s needed to refresh and reset. 
  • Don’t Just Put a Lid On It: Covering up the pot and hoping for the best will only leave you destined to stove clean up. Address the situation. Hear what they have to say and be empathetic. What triggered them may seem normal to you, so resist judgement or placing blame.
  • A Watched Pot Never Boils: If instead of Joe Cool, you have Hot Head Heidi, keep a closer eye. Know what conditions cause your person to escalate and intervene before there is an outburst. It’s easier to control a simmer.
  • Make Ramen: You have hit a rolling boil. You are in the midst of a full on explosion. They are mad, frustrated and fed up. You are trying to mediate the situation but are coming up empty handed. While this situation is the least desired, probably unprofessional and usually down right ugly it doesn’t have to mean it’s toast. Take what you have learned and brainstorm. What can we do differently? Would a change in process make things more efficient? Is the person burnt out? Make something new out of the salvageable ingredients. 

I’ve been there, where I feel like I’m gonna lose it. I know to step back and take a breather. But sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I snap. It’s not pretty and it’s not ok. It doesn’t even feel that great. What is more important is the recovery. How do you move forward and what did you learn from it? 

I’m really rethinking pasta for dinner. Back to the menu board.

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