I present to you the adult temper tantrum.

Angry Person on the phone: “I spent 20 hours doing this revalidation and then I couldn’t submit because I was revoked.”

Pause… “The note said I would I was due to expire on April 30 and I could not submit on the 30th.”

Pause… “ This is the dumbest thing. I don’t know why I need to recertify anyway. Nobody cares.”

Me: “I hear your frustration. I’m still uncertain what you need from me.

These types of episodes follow an unmet expectation. The adult with the tirade expects the issue to go away with out actually making a request. And so goes the dirty secret of business.  The continuum of bad behavior. In kindergarten, there is the teacher to manage the situation. In sports, there are coaches. In the general business environment, these species, adults on a tirade, are allowed to run wild in a reign of terror. The challenge is recognizing this work place terror. Just as weeds embed themselves into the vegetable garden,this varietal gives all indication of belonging while overtaking the surrounding vegetation until being weeded out. How do you handle this? Just as you would a yelling toddler.

Stay calm. Do not engage.Let the tantrum complete and as in the example above, politely ask for clarification.  Do not assume, do not try to assuage, just be. Consider that this behavior has been used in the past, sometimes effectively to coerce others to make exceptions. As for making exceptions or ignoring the rules? Well you are not that person and this is not that day.