Drama Sparks: The Tough Guy

This is a six-part series about the almost invisible behaviors that spark negative drama and attention. Select the tag, "Drama Sparks" to see them all. 

Let me introduce the voice of the Tough Guy  The comments below have a crass tone and are meant to convey superiority.

When a co-worker is struggling with a project: "You know what you signed up for."

When they perceive someone is moving too slow: "You got to keep up if you're going to make it in this business."

When asked to bond emotionally: "There is no room for that sappy stuff here."

These quotes are all representative of the Tough Guy. This is the person who prizes self-reliance and in distress begins to expect it of everyone else. They adaptable, charming, and persuasive but when they turn into the tough guy they will leave others behind and make their teammates fend for themselves.


Let's take a closer look. I have a client who has some tough guy tendencies. In a recent phone call, he was lamenting about all these employees who can't keep their personal lives at home.  Here is a paraphrase of what he told me. 

"When you show up at work you have to put that stuff aside and deliver. There isn't time to keep crying stuff that happened over the weekend. It's time to work." 

The irony of intention is the tough guy desires decisive action above all other things, but when most people hear their tough guy tone they lose confidence and become even more wishy-washy and emotional.

Instead of responding to the tough guy respond to the person behind the distress and motivate them to use their strengths to save the day. This gives them leeway to act quickly and sets them up to be the hero; creating positive incidence which the tough guy thrives on. Here is how it might sound.

"Bet you can't motivate the whole team, without hurting anyone's feelings. It's going to take some real charm to pull that off. Get out there and take the lead!" 

If you ARE a Tough Guy remember that emotions are powerful and they help get stuff done. There is probably no one more qualified to motivate your team than you...so do it! Turn it into a challenge, find a way to get things moving without leaving a single person behind. A great mantra for the Tough Guy is "I'm stronger when the team succeeds together."  

Next up is the Disappearing Man (or Woman). Check out all the post by following this link: http://adambarlowthompson.com/blog/?tag=Drama+Sparks

These concepts are all part of Process Communication Model. Take a course to find out more about PCM.