Hostile-Aggressive People at Work

Hostile-aggressive man in office

The Hostile-Aggressive Worker

Hostile-aggressive people can be the bane of a manager’s existence. This article takes a brief look at three hostile-aggressive personality types you may either meet in work or have to manage in work if they are part of your team.

The Big Bad Bully

The Big Bad Bully uses various forms of hostile-aggressive behaviour and tactics in order to intimidate others into compliance or allegiance. They might use anger, open or covert threats of failure or reprisal, blackmail, ridicule, guilt and/or shame. They will essentially use whatever tactic they can to get what they want. The Big Bad Bully has no worries about arguing or embarrassing others to achieve their ends.

The Angry Diva

The Angry Diva is someone who wants to be the centre of attention all the time and always get what they want. The word Diva implies a female bias but it is just an expression. Men are just as likely to be Angry Divas as women. Whatever the gender, in their world it is all about them and woe betide anyone who thinks or says differently. Many organisations have people like this at different levels because dealing with them is hard. If you are really unfortunate they are sometimes even in charge.

The Know It All

The Know It All. There is nothing you or anyone else can tell The Know It All because, in their opinion they have seen it all and done it all. There is no room for personal growth in their world but plenty of scope for it in other people. The Know It All believes they can do or say no wrong but they will be extremely efficient and keen to point out where you and everyone else went wrong of course.

Make no mistake, if not properly controlled or dealt with, The Big Bad Bully, The Angry Diva and The Know It All are dangerous to the morale and mental well-being of both you and the staff on your team or in your department.

What can you do about it?

Managing difficult personality types at work can be something of a nightmare for many line managers and supervisors. Much of this comes down to fear of conflict because of a lack of confidence. Some managers seem to have the amazing knack of effectively, assertively and confidently with the difficult personality types they encounter. If they can do it why can’t you?

To get the low-down on assertively and effectively managing these types of hostile-aggressive people and many more difficult personality types why not check out “Assertively Managing Difficult People” by Andrew D. Pope.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. If you did then please like it and share it. Every little bit helps in internet land.

You might also enjoy these related articles:

Passive-Aggressive People At Work

Assertiveness Is What Exactly?

Doormats Are An Ultra-Passive Problem

Customer Reality Is Bad At Apple

Apple store - customer reality doesn't match the story hype

Customer reality gaps can hurt a brand

My customer reality at Apple has been bad. Very bad. Recently I commented on a Facebook post in which someone was bemoaning the poor customer service he’d received at an Apple Store. I added my two-penny worth and had a cathartic rant.

The post reminded me just how much the Apple store staff had managed to hack me off.

It also made me think again about the power of staff to chase away customers and destroy a reputation by failing to deliver on the hyped business story they’ve so carefully created.

Hopefully this article will make you think about your business story and how you and your staff back it up.

Here’s a brief summary

I have given The Apple Store two opportunities to sell me high end products in the last two years and the same irritating thing happened on both occasions. I gave them two chances as I felt that, given their hype as paragons of customer service, the first time might be an exception rather than the norm. They dropped the ball again. Did I simply catch them at two bad times or is it because there is a systemic issue with the customer reality at Apple?

Twice I entered the Cardiff Apple Store with money in my pocket and every intention of buying a top end base station model and left the second time vowing never to buy a physical Apple product as long as I draw breath.

There I was browsing the expensive models yet I might as well have been invisible. On both occasions I was completely ignored by the embryos that pass for staff. I am not the shy retiring type as people who know me will testify but I couldn’t even make eye-contact. The ignorance felt deliberate and intentional. I got the impression that they actually wanted me out of the store. I felt like a penniless hobo. Guess I just didn’t fit the specified Apple client demographic.

Am I just too old and knackered to be an Apple customer?

I’m over 50 after all so maybe not the poster boy they’re after but I do have a healthy disposable income. In my opinion, and let’s be honest here as a potential customer my opinion should count for a lot, they’ve taken style over function right through to the look of their buying customers. Well dinosaur I may be, but what a way to treat and then lose a potentially valuable and loyal customer. Every time I hear people raving on about Apple and how cool they are I just shake my head and laugh.

What was I actually upset about you might ask. Annoyed at being ignored? Yes. Extremely irritated at being written off as an old fart by toddlers? Yes. Embarrassed? Yes. Would I go back there or to any other Apple store or recommend Apple? Absolutely not.

Fundamental customer reality errors

These are basic customer service issues and even a simple “Hello, can I help you?” would have done the trick. I might have engaged with them and would likely have bought the desired product there and then.

Thinking back with the luxury of hindsight, I can now see what an incredible fumble they made. The fumble is on a much deeper level than simply ignoring any potential customer who fell outside their demographic because it smacks of corporate indifference. Staff take their cues from their managers.

Too much hype can create a customer reality gap

Amongst other things, I work with businesses on their ability to tell good brand stories which means I pay attention to these kind of errors. If you have or want to create a corporate story then you’d better back up the promised customer experience with the actual customer reality. Apple are portrayed as the doyen of corporate storytelling and paragons of the buying and ownership experience. What they failed to do on these occasions was back up the story telling hype with physical action and a satisfying customer reality.

That’s a deep incongruence in my opinion. If people told me how good their experiences were and how good the products were, would I give them another chance? No. As far as I’m concerned, they lied. It’s hard to un-know something and because I know the lie is there and the Apple mask has fallen.

Ultimately, stories live on through the telling and the re-telling. It would be nice to think that my Apple customer reality story is one they wouldn’t want anyone telling or passing on but, because they believe themselves too big to fail, I suspect they won’t care at all.

I dodged a bullet

I believe, because I walked away, I dodged a long-term bullet. If that was the real buying experience, I can only imagine how poor the after sales service might be. Can you imagine the scene if I ever had the temerity to show up again asking for help or support. I’d be a real pain in the you know what. It may not be seen as true from Apple’s point of view. They could show me a tonne of statistics on customer service success because I’m sure they have had lots of success. There’s a key difference because my reality is true for me. I’m the customer and my customer reality in the Apple store was terrible. I get to choose who gets my disposable income and that gives me some importance.

I have to tell you, I’m now a loyal and lifelong non-fan of the Apple brand because they had their chance, two actually, and they blew it. My customer reality did not match the much-hyped expectation. Only one chance to make a good first impression and all that.

Make sure you walk the walk

If you’re going to tell a corporate story then make sure you can back it up in the real world. Don’t just talk the talk, make sure you walk the walk too.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it interesting. If you did then please like it and share it. Every little bit helps in internet land.

Here is a related article on Emotional Intelligence focused M&S versus Tesco which you may also enjoy and, just for the record, I do like some retail shops but not many.

Customer Experience Poor At M&S

Goal-setting the WACKY way

WACKY goal-setting graphic man holding elephant above his headWhy WACKY goal-setting?

If you’re going to use goal-setting in your life then you might as well set big ones. I recommend making them as WACKY as possible. The WACKY’er the better in fact!

Goals and goal-setting are fundamental tools for personal and organisational development. After all, how can you know you have achieved something or even improved your situation at all if you have no target or benchmark to work from?


SMART goal-setting is the most common business goal-setting tool. Acronyms are very common in the business world and SMART goals are generally taken to be goals which are Specific, Measurable & Motivating, Aligned, Reachable or Relevant and Time Driven. This is all well and good in the business world where by and large people want a stretch but not too much of a stretch. The consequences of failure in the modern business world are often high so the taking of chances is not encouraged by many managers. I personally view this as a huge deficiency in many organisations. Permission to try and to fail (and therefore to learn) is not usually given. A whole raft of articles could be written on the reluctance to embrace failure for growth and I’m sure I’ll write one or two more soon enough.

SMART goal-setting doesn’t always mean smart goals

Many people, through their experience at work, are familiar and comfortable with the SMART goal-setting approach. If they form any personal goals at all, they are likely to design SMART goals. When the same timidity and safety driven approach applies to personal goals they are weak, provide a small stretch only and are not that motivating. Are these goals being achieved? If they are being achieved, are they rocking your or anyone else’s world? My answer to both questions is NO!!

Am I completely against SMART goal-setting? Actually, no I’m not. They have their place and work well for tasks that form stages or sub-goals within a big WACKY goal.

Think Bigger

When pursuing goals in your life make them big. Make them huge, awesome, life-changing, jaw-dropping, pulse quickening goals that are worth your effort and time. Aim for the stars – even if you come up short you will still have had a hell of a ride and be higher than most everyone else. You will have learnt valuable lessons and be more than motivated to try again. In my opinion it is far better to regret the things you’ve done than live a life regretting the ones you didn’t try.

My WACKY goal-setting manifesto

This is how I do it – using the catchy acronym WACKY. Catchy acronyms stick in your mind and you can access them easily. Hopefully you’ll then use it all the time and spread the message to others.

I really want people thinking my personal goals are totally WACKY – that’s great. It means they will likely be the goals that others may not have thought of.  I want goals which scare others .  I want to stretch myself – that’s the only way to grow and develop as a person and be able to help others more effectively. That’s always been my driving force. Partial failure of one of my WACKY goals will often be better than most people’s mediocre SMART goals – I’ll learn loads of good stuff and be that much closer to where I want to be. I also take my time to form them and that way I get the real honest “from the heart” stuff – it works for me and it could work for you.

These WACKY goals are generally my over-arching long-range life goals so they will certainly contain lots of mini-goal stages – that’s fine – many small (SMART) steps will add up to a huge WACKY journey. It all makes life very interesting.

WACKY goal-setting defined

So let’s get going with what WACKY means to me.


WACKY goals are wonderful. They are full of wonder. I want filling with wonder, otherwise what’s the point? It has to be something that makes my imagination work hard. I want it to play on my mind and draw me on down that road less travelled.


WACKY goals fire me up. They get me raring to go. No fire up and no raring to go means I’ll find a better goal instead. I want my pulse to quicken when I think about it. I want to talk with animation when I talk to my nearest and dearest. It must create amazement and passion.


I make it big, bigger and bigger again. If it doesn’t make me stop and think “hold the phone, that’s big even by my standards – people will think I’m mad” then I rethink it and just make it bigger. I make it a huge hairy-arsed goal that if achieved will make me think “Yeah, that was a good one”. If people saw my goal in the street they would cross the road to avoid it – it will be a kick-butt ferocious slavering monster of a goal.


I try to make it undeniably unique and special; when achieved it will be well worth the sacrifice and effort. I try always to be a trend setter and not a follower – I therefore try to set grand goals that I and others have not yet achieved.


I have to own my goal with my heart and soul. It’s personal. I’ll pour huge energy into it – failure is not an attractive option. For example, roller skating backwards up Everest is just not my chosen WACKY goal. However, being the best and highest paid professional coach in the world is. My goals have to be my goals and your goals have to be your goals. I’ve learnt over the years to pick goals that really do chime with my core values. My values as an individual and a unique human being are super important.

Over to you

That’s it. This technique of goal-setting has taken me years of study and searching. I’ve worked hard to learn more and refine it. It’s still a work in progress because it is a life-long challenge. No one said it would be easy did they? I urge you therefore to use SMART for the small things but be WACKY for the important ones.

Try and design some of your own WACKY goals for your life. They will take you to some wonderful places.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. If you did then please like it and share it. Every little bit helps in internet land.