For exhibit and event professionals  

Dilemma: How do I hide my Mr. Hyde side?

December 2, 2011 By Editor

I’m usually pretty even-tempered, but a business associate of mine really pushes my buttons. He gets angry over nothing and starts yelling at me, and before I know it, I’m responding in kind. I’d like to just avoid him, but he’s a business unit stakeholder in my exhibit program. What can I do about his sudden outbursts — and mine? Should I speak to him, our boss or both about this situation?

— Annette, Exhibits Manager

Let your inner professional shine through

Annette, your coworker’s behavior is totally unacceptable, and you shouldn’t be obliged to work in a hostile environment. Consequently, you must do something about this situation.

Our readers suggest you:

  • Tell him how to behave.
  • Play some games of your own.
  • Bust him.

Tell him how to behave

The problem here is your coworker’s, but it may be up to you to help him solve it.

Bob Siekert, president/owner of RJSCO, believes a calm, direct approach is best.

“Simply say to him, ‘I don’t appreciate being yelled at and haven’t since I was a child. If you have issues I can assist you with, please talk to me in a lowered voice and calm manner. We need to maintain a business environment here. Tell me what you’re upset about, so we can address it and find a solution. I’m here to help you.’

“If this doesn’t work after repeated attempts, talk with his boss and suggest the boss control your associate’s venting on you.”

Play some games of your own

It’s always possible your coworker has more of an issue with wanting to play games than anger control, so adjust your strategy accordingly.

An exhibits manager believes that if this is true, one game calls for another.

“Just try to remember you’re only with this person eight hours a day, and if you’re truly clever, you can avoid him for a good part of that. Stay away from areas he’s in, or go to these areas when he’s not likely to be there.

“When you must have contact with this coworker, stay focused on the job at hand. Relax and stay calm; be Mr. Hyde inside and Dr. Jekyll outside. And ignore any of his outbursts. If he can’t get a rise out of you, he may stop his games.”

Bust him

With the way your coworker’s been acting, you may find it uncomfortable to be with him for a talk or some game play. In this case, it’s time for you to report him.

A marketing manager explains how to build a case against him, and why it’s so important to do so.

“Document all your past interactions with this coworker, including dates and times that you remember. If you have any more run-ins with him before you can complete this, add these to your list. Then, take your documentation to HR. Obviously, this person has severe anger management problems, and he has to be stopped before he becomes more aggressive toward you and/or others at your company.”


  • Although Annette has a variety of options to consider, ignoring this coworker’s behavior isn’t one of them. This kind of rage is downright scary, and sometimes, the consequences can be dire.

    Do you have other advice for Annette?

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