For exhibit and event professionals  

Dilemma: How do I turn down the heat under my collar?

November 7, 2012 By Editor

One of my staff members makes my blood pressure rise on a regular basis. I don’t know if it’s his attitude, his tone of voice or something else. But whatever it is, I know I have to maintain my composure. After all, emotional maturity in the workplace is one of the keys to success. Any suggestions for keeping my emotions in check?

— Veronica, Trade Show Marketing Director

Keep your cool, no matter what

Veronica, there’s an expression, “You can’t change another person’s behavior; you can only change your reaction to it.” That’s certainly true in this case.

Consequently, our readers suggest you:

  • Find some humor in the situation.
  • Try to find common ground.
  • Let him know his behavior’s a problem.

Find some humor in the situation

When you deal with someone who rubs you the wrong way, you have a choice: Suffer or smile.

Jill Gill, in sales at Gately Communication Co., believes you should opt for the latter and provides an example of how to do it.

“Just picture him sucking a bottle while he’s in a diaper.”

Try to find common ground

More than likely, your staffer has no idea he irritates you, so a face-to-face meeting may benefit both of you.

Madeline Van Dyk, a payroll coordinator, details an approach you may want to take.

“Sit down with him at a quiet place other than work and talk openly and honestly. Get to know him and discuss how the two of you can better communicate.”

Let him know his behavior’s a problem

On the other hand, you’re the boss, and it’s up to this staff member to act appropriately.

Jamie Green, a business development associate, thinks a warning may be warranted, but after that ….

“We all understand different personalities exist within a company, and sometimes, two people just don’t connect. However, this staffer is obligated to act in a professional and respectful way with you, and you shouldn’t tolerate this kind of behavior. Meet with him and share your concerns. If the behavior continues, fire him.”


  • Veronica it is in my experience that maintaining your composure and reflecting how you are perceived are way more important than worrying and wasting time on someone at work who means absolutely nothing to you other than them being your co-worker. Stop consuming yourself with him/her and go about your work day by putting the individual emotionally at a very long arm’s length away. I am going through the same thing with a few different people at work who do not respect the boundaries of others in the work place. Some think it is their own personal playground at times amongst other unacceptable behavior. If the issue of the other individual is not corrected by a Manager and they are not directing anything verbally abusive at you on an ongoing basis then I would recommend putting this person out of your mind and just be professional in their presence and when dealing with them. If there is a specific problem with them directing something to you verbally then bring it to a Managers attention immediately and tell them it needs to stop. Otherwise if the person is just being themselves try to turn your focus on work not the people at work. Good Luck.

  • Perhaps Victoria should do some self-reflection. Exactly what is it about this staffer that bothers her so much, and why? Is it really that important in the scheme of things? If he’s a good worker and an asset to the company, maybe she should chill out and just accept the fact everyone is different and has his or her own quirks.

    Do you know of other ways Victoria can deal with this staffer and/or her reaction to him?

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