What do Justin Bieber and Lord Sugar have in common?

You wouldn’t have thought a teenage heart throb pop star and a middle-aged business tycoon had much in common. Other than being celebrities that is. Well they were both in the news recently for “losing it” in public.

‘People think anger is inappropriate in the work place. But showing you are angry is not the same as losing control’

Justin was shown shoving and swearing at photographers as his body guards tried to calm him down, while Lord Sugar had to be told by his lawyers not to lose control of his temper following a series of outbursts during an industrial tribunal. It didn’t do much for the image of either of them.

It probably won’t do any harm to either of their careers, however; but could the rest of us behave like this at work and expect to get away with it?

Conventional advice is stay cool don’t show your emotions, but the cold-blooded unemotional manager can be just as difficult to work with as the volcanic boss.

Hair dryer treatment

Sometimes it is right to be angry and reasonable to show your anger. Management is about promoting good practice and challenging bad practice. Why would you not get angry about the ill treatment of vulnerable people? Why would you not get angry with staff who abuse their power?

People think anger is inappropriate in the work place because of its links to violence. But showing you are angry is not the same as losing control. We have all seen Lord Sugar on TV make his displeasure known to the potential apprentices but neither us nor them think there is a risk he may turn violent.

‘Managers need to channel their anger, to be able to show they are angry but still be in control of their emotions’

And I doubt Justin Bieber was going to hit anyone since he knew his body guards were standing between him and those he was threatening. Sir Alex Ferguson has a reputation for giving those employees who displease him the “hair dryer treatment” and he is referred to as a very successful manager. We should, however, distinguish between successful and respected; those who are feared may be successful but they are rarely respected.

If you really care, if you are passionate about the issue then you don’t say quiet, you don’t let it go unchallenged, you don’t remain coldly indifferent and dispassionate.

Recent scandals in the NHS should have convinced us of the need for manager’s who care about the treatment of patients, who are upset about the neglect of older people or who are genuinely shocked about the abuse of vulnerable people. This does not mean it is acceptable or appropriate to shout or be abusive to colleagues. Managers need to channel their anger, to be able to show they are angry but still be in control of their emotions.

Being angry and showing your anger is OK, but being out of control is not.