Teachers, parents, police, bosses need to remember people often smile or laugh from anxiety. Such smiles and laughs are responses to fear and anxiety. Like a dog rolling over in submission, nervous smiles and laughs are a sign of submission. A wise power leader knows to back off for the point has been made.
Unwise power leaders get angry, thinking they are being dismissed, ridiculed, or laughed out.
A yelling power leader is not getting his or her message across.
A yelled at child, student, or employee is not hearing the message the power leader wants to get across. Emotions are running the show.
This Wiki-how was written for those who laugh from anxiety, but is useful reading for power leaders.
An ancient tale recounted by Robert Flugham, if my aging memory serves me correctly, described the way a certain village chopped trees down before the time of axes or chain saws. All villagers would gather around the tree and yell at it. Some called the tree names, some cursed the tree. Soon the tree’s leaves shriveled and fell off. The villagers would yell more and louder; soon the tree would give up and fall.
When some one yells at us, even if deserved, most of us shrivel a little inside. Not healthy. Particularly unhealthy if we are already feeling shaky or bad.
Now, the fact is sometimes a little yelling is necessary to get the other person’s attention. I am sure you all know people who don’t pay much attention to you until you yell or at least raise your voice and some not even then. These are usually those raised in homes where yelling was the norm.
At workshops for parents, I often asked, “When did you know your parents meant business?”
Some would reply, “The look.”
Others, “My Mom would start counting and bless you if she got to three.”
Still others, “Yelled. ”
And finally, “Started Taking His Belt Off.”
I would ask those who noted it was when The Belt was about to come out: “Didn’t they yell first?”
Most often the answer would be “Yeah, all the time.”
When someone yells all the time, children and grown-ups become what the experts call “Habituated” to the yelling. Same happens with any form of discipline, to get attention or compliance you have to up the ante. Abuse is upping the ante when the person no longer pays attention to the previous request for obedience. What to do? Use a mixture of disciplinary actions. More about that next week. Meanwhile here is a quick tip.
STAYING STRONG TIP: If someone you are chastising gives you a nervous grin, “Say, I see you understand. Let me know what I can do to help you do better.” If the answer is “Nothing.” Say “Thank You” and get on with what you and the other have to do.
If the answer is outrageous: “Give me a million dollars.”
Say, “I can’t do that, what else might help you stay on track?”
Repeat that sentence or say, “I can’t to that, think about it for a while and let me know if you come up with something you know I can do.”
Go on with what you were doing.
Good luck, being a parent, teacher, or any other person with power over another is not an easy path to walk. Particularly difficult, when you care and want to do the right thing, which is why leaders need lots of emotional fitness.
Share, care, and stay strong.