So terrifying is the bullet ridden face of the slain Sonny Corleone, even the seasoned undertaker, Amerigo Bonasera, gasps with horror – against his will and despite years of professional expertise in beautifying corpses.

A few hours ago, it was Sonny’s turn to be surprised. His sister, Connie, has just been battered again by her husband, Carlo. Having thrashed Carlo earlier for beating Connie, the news sends Sonny flying into a fit of murderous rage.

How angry? He dashes out to Connie’s house without his bodyguards when a gang war is underway and when he is the acting head of his family (gang).

The enemy couldn’t have asked for more!

Assassins are waiting round the corner. Round the toll booth rather, where they trap and pump him with what must be a hundred bullets. This is, of course, the enemy’s scheme to get Sonny out in the open by triggering his “famous temper.”

Sonny’s death is a body blow to the Corleone Family. The injured Don, his father, is forced to sue for peace. The family loses its top spot in the New York underworld – the price to pay for one moment of indiscretion! That’s about as heavy a toll any toll booth would ever take.     

Respond Cleverly to Provocation @ Workplace

Discretion is the better part of valour. And of the outburst that stems from a misplaced sense of valour.

Former U.S. President Obama responds calmly and wittily to hecklers
Credits: YouTube at

You never know when a surprise punch might provoke you into a blunder. Never mind how tough a nut you are. A stinging taunt perhaps. Rude defiance. Open, unwarranted reprimand. Unexpected criticism. Shifting goalposts. Favouritism.

In the second article of this series: Lessons from The Godfather: Excessive Favouritism is Not Just Bad, its Cancerous, we have seen how excessive favouritism can eat up an entire country from within.

Respond impulsively to these surprises and you start down a self destructive spiral. Ignore them persistently and you invite a host of disorders – heart problems, anxiety, elevated blood pressure, depression. Plus, they’ll take you for granted.

Dealing with negative workplace emotions is tricky. As usual, having high emotional intelligence/quotient (EI/EQ) proves invaluable. What helps spike your EQ, help here too:

  • Positive Thinking unleashes confidence boosting hormones. Confidence counters insecurity, which is often at the root of outrage.
  • Introspection gives you a self-reality check. That way, you don’t just blame others.
  • Empathy helps understand the troublesome associate. Chances are, the “culprit” isn’t even aware he/she is hurting you. Empathy also lets you communicate your displeasure, making a point without making an enemy.

Employee anger management is equally essential if you are an employer looking to build and maintain a productive workplace:

  • Set an Example, A Work Ethic: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Behave as you expect others to treat you. Work cultures percolate from the top down. Your conduct becomes the work ethic. Never bully, threaten, or force. Instead, convince.
  • Establish Institutional Mechanisms to:
    1. Communicate in writing the expected conduct.
    2. Identify early warning signs of employee discontent viz. detachment/over-attachment, indifferent performance, hyper reactions to appraisals and policies, uneasy rapport with co-workers, inclination to threaten etc.
    3. Maintain records to know temperaments.
    4. Enforce disciplinary procedures to drive home the point of good behaviour.
  • Train Employees: Often, people don’t know they are behaving badly. Professional training helps.
  • Demonstrate Empathy: Be aware of the context – why someone behaves the way they do. Know “why” and you’ll know “how” to deal!

Here is another, related lesson from the book: Revenge tastes best when served cold. Isn’t that how Carlo sets up the infinitely more powerful Sonny? That is for another day though. See you soon.

Related Articles:

  1. Lessons from The Godfather Excessive Favouritism is Not Just Bad, its Cancerous
  2. Lessons from The Godfather Make an Offer he Can’t Refuse

Indrajeetsinh Yadav @ Falcon Words has created this insightful piece of content. For more such beyond-the-obvious content, write to us at or call us at +91-9822052945.

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