Managing Hotheads is Like Handling Rattle Snakes

Dealing with hotheads is like handling rattle snakes. It’s thrilling if you have proper training and equipment.

Three hot-heads on a team are better than one seething manipulator.

Hotheads express their concerns. Seething backstabbers are like the Energizer Bunny. They keep going and going, but you might never discover their real concerns.

Hotheads tell you what they want. Backstabbers might never tell you what they want and then hold it against you when you don’t give it.

4 reasons people lose their temper:

#1. It’s natural. Hot headed leaders blow up quickly and move on just as quickly.

#2. It’s bullying. Bullying leaders use anger to pressure people into compliance.

#2. It’s unmet need. You need to feel heard, but no one listens – eventually you blow.

Unmet emotional needs eventually find expression in hot emotion.

#3. It’s timidity. When people don’t speak up, issues build up until they blow up.

Natural hotheads:

In another life, I worked for a hothead. He got red in the face and yelled when things didn’t go right. In a short time he acted like nothing happened.

My hotheaded boss knew what he wanted and he was decisive.

Natural hotheads are naturally passionate.

I wonder if removing his quick temper might have neutered him.

Hotheads can learn to manage outburst, but bulging veins and tight lips get the message across.

Managing rattle snakes:

  1. Engage in constructive conversations after hotheads cool down. An outburst opens the door to discuss any tough topic.
  2. Acknowledge that hotheads care deeply. How might you better leverage their passion?
  3. Teach people to use the duck method. Let outbursts roll off your back. When my hotheaded boss went off, I ignored him.

How might a hothead be an advantage to a team?

What suggestions do you have for managing hotheads?


I’m not defending   abusive spouses or perpetually angry people.

This post began as an indictment of hotheads. I chose the opposite path to challenge the status quo. Perhaps I’ve stirred your thinking.