Every once in a while I really manage to piss someone off. Not just kinda, we’re talking nuclear grade, maximum emotional-button-pushing, pissed off.
I managed to do that this week to a level that resulted in someone almost walking away from a multi-million dollar deal.
My offense? I said I was “bending over backward” to satisfy what he was asking for, but I was concerned that even that wasn’t satisfying his expectations.
His bulbous Scottish face turned eggplant purple, his veins began to pulse, he called me a “cock-up” (which I immediately had to Google), and he stormed out of the room.
I don’t mind eating a big plate of shit (I mean I’d rather not, but I will) so I gave him my most heartfelt apology and assured him that I am happy and eager to bend over backward to make this deal happen, but that I need to ensure his expectations of the elements we were agreeing to were understood.
I wonder though, is the fault his or mine? I mean, he overreacted and basically threatened to kill a huge business deal because he got his feelings hurt — which is pretty ridiculous if you ask me. But, I am the one who seems to cause this reaction in someone new every couple of years (only in men, it seems).
I’m conflicted with stress. My boss calmed him down and didn’t say anything to me about it afterward. The man’s a notorious hothead, and all is well now. But, is this something I need to figure out how to change about myself?
We all come with professional strengths and weaknesses, is the occasional ignition of the overly temperamental a weakness I should accept in myself, or put on project status?
P.S. – Cock-up comes from the Scottish Poem “A cock up your beaver” which, though it sounds crude, actually references putting a cock’s feather in your beaver skin hat to indicate that you are paying attention. A cock-up is someone who isn’t paying attention or who makes a number of mistakes.