Seen A Rhinoceros Lately?

Is your supervisor a rhinoceros?  What about your spouse?  Or perhaps it’s a coworker.

You know the kind I’m talking about.  They are confrontational, pointed and angry.  Intimidation and threats are their favorite weapons.  And they are very pushy!

Everyone knows when Bill arrives at work.  He doesn’t walk into a room.  He knocks the door down and comes in steaming.  Nostrils flared, eyes wide, he throws his head about looking for a victim.  He makes everyone feel like they are on the verge of being fired, that the company is going to fold and that it is your fault and your fault alone.

His demands are unrealistic, demands that even he cannot meet.  No one is ever doing enough.  Quotas have to be higher, productivity has to be increased.

Once he leaves the room there is a collective sigh of relief, people wipe the sweat off their brows, and tears are dabbed with kleenex.  Several people take out their package of Tums and chew two tablets to try and quell the acid soup in their stomach that Bill has triggered.

So how in the world do you deal with someone like this Rhinoceros?

Here are two suggestions:

  • Be assertive, not aggressive – Do not try to match his level of intensity because that will only make matters worse.  Keep your voice calm, in contrast to his yelling.  If you feel he is demeaning toward you, tell him so.  Stand your ground, do not cow to his bullying.  Do not let him bait you into an argument.  Realize that he is not going to agree with you, but that is okay.  You only need to be interested in expressing yourself clearly.
  • Give them time to run out of steam – A rhinoceros can run as fast as 45 miles per hour, but only for short distances.  People like Bill are the same way.  If you give them time, they will eventually run out of steam and have little or nothing to say in rebuttal to your comments.  It’s like they expend all of their energy in their blustery opening explosion, but after that they can’t even get up enough steam to put two sentences together.

For some final, lighthearted thoughts on the rhinoceros, consider Ogden Nash’s poem:

The rhino is a homely beast,
For human eyes he’s not a feast.
Farwell, farewell, you old rhinoceros,
I’ll stare at something less prepoceros.


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