We live in a society full of child brats as well as adult brats. The latter are people who never progressed beyond the first three or four ego behavioral development stages but aged in years and physical growth. At some point their mental development stopped at a lower stage and those elements of behavior have carried into their post-teen years. Do you have one of those as a boss?
It is a sad fact but America is chock full of adult brats and some of them own businesses and are in charge of people, money, resources, and great amounts of human influence and power over others. These are people who cannot work with their clouded, deluded, untutored and handcuffed past because they have not learned about the PAST:
PA: for PATIENCE
S: for SERVICE
T: for TEAMWORK
Modern American adult brats behave very much as pre-teen and some teen brats. You can tell them whether the behavior is subtle or outright awful, whether it is in a gesture or in a word or phrase that characterizes someone who is lacking in advancing through later ego stages where the I, Me and My and Mine aspects go away and the higher levels of “What can I do for you? How may I serve you? What would you like to do?” take over and with use are polished and refined like fine gold and carefully cut gems.
A 747 inbound to O’Hare is a demonstration of teamwork: someone guides the jet in at the control tower, there is a flight deck crew, and of course there are those who assembled the jet. Photo by Divi Logan.
Like childhood brats, adult brats are very unpleasant to be around. Kids who are undergoing growth pains and mental advancement need to learn that bad behavior will not help them get their way. In fact the worse someone behaves the less others want to be around them, and this must be made clear early on. Loud voices and tantrums will not get you what you want, and I will not help you get your way. That is the message you must get across to the brat.
As for the adult brat, the first thing you need to do to break their hold on your emotions and primal behaviors is to say, “You have no power over me! You do not own me! I am not your slave!” or anything that breaks that grip they believe they have on you. You must not be in fear of cowards, for such people are cowards, self-protective, complainers, blamers and needers of affirmation from others. They are worse than just non-productive hypocrites; they are ticking time bombs ready to explode at the slightest itch of the fuse. Someone says the wrong word or does the wrong thing that trips the switch of the spoiled narcissist’s hot-wired brain and they are likely to do just about anything.
They might own the company but you own your powers, intellect, knowledge, and Self.
Sometimes you are fortunate to come across spirit guides in this embryonic nation, people who have dealt with narcissists and know what to do when they start acting up. Luckily I have some of these masterwork of guidance and patience and intellectual prowess on my team as friends and as people with whom I enjoy doing business. Here is advice from them on how to deal with the bullying boss or the team terror.
A restaurant manager says to patiently listen to what the boss is asking. Being patient (the PA in PAST) shows your willingness to be part of the team, complete the tasks at hand, do them wisely and with proper judgment, and follow through. You then do exactly that; you tell them you will update them and then go about the entire process.
A retired psychiatrist and hospital administrator advised to never ever challenge a person displaying signs of narcissism (arrogance, “I’m right and you’re wrong, my way or the highway), obsession, compulsion, or bullying. You as the target must leave the area of the bad behavior ASAP. This is not a retreat; this is necessary to preserve your good repuation and your mental health. Get away from the person, say nothing and do nothing. This is vital: you must not add fuel to the fire and you must take control of your emotions. You must stand up to the bully and settle yourself down, not to be rattled by their predictable patterns. Stand your ground against whatever is causing the attitude problem. Take charge: Leave their presence at once and do not go back until the behavior stops and they calm down. Make no contact with them. Walk away immediately and find something productive to do.
What you are doing by putting distance between yourself and the brat is essentially putting them in the corner with the dunce cap on until they settle down and are ready to act civil. You are telling them, “That is bad behavior and I will not tolerate it.” You are doing what parents or guardians did not do for them early on in life, and saying that bad behavior only makes you less willing to do what they want and more of an urge to leave you alone. “You are not going to get your way with me. Acting like that sends the wrong signal and you need to stop it.”
When the primal urges have settled down and the higher levels are ready to be engaged, you take charge by learning and practicing the principles of Mission Control.
A close, tight pass such as this one results only from hours of teamwork, training, and dedicated practice. USAF Thunderbirds on a fast approach during the 2016 Chicago Air and Water Show. Photo by Divi Logan.
It is true: Mission Control is not just for NASA scientists and the folks in the computer rooms in Houston or Florida or anywhere NASA has facilities that assist mission planning, training, and start to finish procedures from launch to touchdown. The basics of Mission Control involve practicing the basics of safety, watching out for others throughout the mission and consciously involving yourself in teamwork that ensures everyone knows what they are doing and how to do it. Safety first is the short way to put it. The inspiration came during NASA’s early years when America was training for putting people into space. The idea was to put someone in space and return them safely back to Earth. Just one half of the phrase would not suffice – putting someone in space. The person had to return safely home and only then was the mission complete.
Mission Control involves the highest levels of altruism and development of every aspect of the human being, be it physical, mental, spiritual or social. It is to the point that when you include I, me, my or mine in an expression it has the next phase of wanting to serve someone else or do something for others without that want of reward or photo-op or publicity coming your wan instantly. It is just plain getting out there and doing what you can, cameras and spotlights or not. You just do what which gives you a good feeling and store up those fine blossoms of love and grace for use for others in need.
That includes the bratty boss and the insecure child; they need your help too.
Divi Logan, Chicago, 2016.