General discussion


Is it ever right to yell?

By kphayes710 ·
Recently I was in charge of a network installation project. I had a small team working for me and one of the members started distracting and "fooling" around not doing the work I had assigned to them. I raised my voice when I asked her to stop messing around and get back to work and some of the other members of the team pulled me aside afterwards. They told me I should appologize to the other member and that I had no right to "Yell" at her. I didn't see myself as yelling just being stern with her to get her to start working, so I didn't appologize. Am I wrong to have rose my voice with her and should I appologize for it? Is there ever an acceptable time to yell at an employee?

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by maecuff In reply to Outstanding

but puppies make a more satisfying noise.

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by Choppit In reply to Don't apologize

It doesn't matter whether he thinks he yelled or not. My understanding is that the team perceived his actions as yelling. If my neighbours call at my house to tell me that my music is too loud then theres a pretty good chance that they're right.

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by Dr Dij In reply to

people percieve a stern tone and audible but not loud as disturbing to their current state of mind (goofing off).

I had this happen to me. I was not yelling, not even slightly raised voice but the person who let me down on the job realized that what I was saying invaded their thinking things were fine (they were not).

This break in their perceptions is perceived as 'yelling' as you have derailed their wrong perceptions about their performance. You stopped their la-de-dahs and made them realize what they did wrong.

This is absolutely required to make people understand the seriousness of what they did.

Too bad, don't screw up and people won't try to correct you! If you think it's yelling you're psychologically screwed up.

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Very true

by Book3 In reply to No

I've had this happen as well. Some employees will take any statement that they are not performing as well as they think they are as yelling. When I have had employees like this who are truly valuable (i.e. worth the trouble), I have had to approach them in a very congenial "I know you meant well, but..." manner, even when I think they've been a total bonehead and should have known far better. Though it is sometimes very trying to have to do this, for valuable employees I think it is worth the effort.

On the other hand, I've also had staff members who respond to any perceived criticism -- even sometimes when you're trying to explain to them a problem they didn't cause but would like their help in fixing -- as being yelled at. Worse still, I have one otherwise very good employee who responds to any perceived criticism by interupting everything I say with a rebuttal -- usually before I've actually gotten to my point. Adding to the frustration of this situation is that even when I point out that they are being rude by interupting me and to let me finish, they continue to interupt me. It is so aggravating and frustrating that it makes me want to explode! They do an excellent job in general, but this attitude is becoming a problem for me and other managers they have to interact with have complained about this as well. I'm afraid I may have no recourse but to let them go.

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Key point!

by RKG In reply to

I think this is a key point. The manager may not see it as yelling, and I have seen times the employee overreacts and plays 'poor me', but the manager's action shoud be focused on what the team sees as effective. That said, the manager MUST maintain control. Calling the employee on the behavior is correct. Sometimes a simple "Jill! Do not do that!' can stop the unproductive behavior. If it does not, the savy manager will have a number of possible approaches to take the behavior intersection to the next step. One such behavior intersection was used in football recently. If nothing else works, send them to pick up lunch for everyone; any failure on that part will be felt by the entire team, and the team will be less likely to side with the employee.

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Sometimes it's okay

by maxwell edison In reply to Is it ever right to yell?

I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather... Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

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by Beoweolf In reply to Sometimes it's okay

Fire, flood...impending doom, all are valid reasons to "yell" at someone. Other wise, No! If a co-worker or soon to be ex-employee, is fooling around on the job, to the point that it becomes dangerous to anyone in the have a right and an obligation to alert everyone to the danger.

If it hasn't risen to that degree of danger (general grab-*** and/or long workday tension release) then a "look" and a reminder that the work must be fininshed, on time, should be enough to let people know that what ever they were doing...thats enough.

On many ocassions, when we are doing an equipment or software upgrade, there usually comes a time in the wee hours of the morning when a predictable delirum seems to descend. As long as nothing is permenantly damaged or health, safety is compromised, then its healthy to let people work of some of the stress.

From the tone of the question and general intuition, I would suggest an old management adage - "never let'um see you sweat!".

Generally, when a manager berates an employee, or sternly corrects them in public; its the usually the manager that is really under stress. You need to be the buffer between the employee and deadlines, stress, directing them to the most effective use of their skills to bring the job to a correct and timely finish. Another thing I learned a long time ago...correct in private, Praise in public. It is much easier to forgive a private disgression than to live down a public censur.

I do know that (non-PC comment coming up), generally women will respond much better to encouragment than to threats (implied or real). The signifigance of verbal correction is much more damaging to some people than to others. As mentioned, often it is contextual.

Would I apologize? Probably not, but I would make it a point to find something praise the employee about as soon as possible, this would go a long way to demonstrate there is no lingering "hard feeling" on your part and may help to rebuild the employees reputation with her coworkers (as well as any ego damage possibly inflected).

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Effective Management

by ljmorsillo In reply to Sometimes....yes.

This reply hits the nub of doing what's effective. Some circumstances are effectively handled with yelling. But they are few unless there is an urgency that requires it. Otherwise, as a manager you need to exercise judgement and utilize your big picture view.

What is the longer term solution? Is the biggest problem that the employee is goofing off right now? If it is, then you have probably already failed as a manager. The best managers make clear what needs to be done and when, and leave it to the people closest to the work to sort out the how.

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Forget about it

by maxwell edison In reply to Is it ever right to yell?

She said you "yelled". You said that you were stern and raised your voice. Regardless of which one it was, it's indicative of venting a frustration over losing control of a situation, or possibly in this case, someone behaving in a manner that's inconsistent with what is expected of them. What would she expect you do, I have to wonder, if she really was slacking off? For you to go up and say please? Please!

Don't apologize, and don't even bring it up again. Some people are overly sensitive. If she was slacking off, she should recognize that she contributed to the situation as well. She should just get over it already. Forget about it and move on.

Edited Part:

Neither one of you were 100 percent professional. If it were me, I would probably would have gone up to her and very quietly, but firmly, tell her to do her job or go home.

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Don't forget it

by amcol In reply to Forget about it

You said you were stern, your staffer said you yelled. This is a perfect example of perspective, or more to the point the fact that perception is more important than reality.

It doesn't matter whether you yelled or were stern, what matters is that you were perceived as having yelled. My own opinion is that yelling is unacceptable in the workplace. It's unprofessional, indicates an issue with temper and impulse control, and sets up an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

You need to figure out if you're comfortable with that. If that's how you want to be perceived as a manager then you did nothing wrong, but you'll need to understand that there are consequences of that decision...low morale, reduced productivity, higher turnover. If, on the other hand, you want to be perceived as someone who manages even-handedly and cares about acting professionally then you need to issue a public apology, in front of the same people who witnessed the yelling episode. Don't have to make a big deal out of it...ten seconds of "I regret my actions" and then move on.

Either way, you can't just forget about it. You have to either decide you're OK with things as is or take an action. Sweeping the whole thing under the rug is not an option.

For what it's worth...just last week a very senior executive in my organization, an A type's A type but a guy who typically exercises strong emotional self-control, had a very public meltdown. Highly out of character, not to mention it was so volcanic he actually scared some people. The next day, highly contrite, he took aside the person whose hair had been blown back by the eruption and publicly apologized, then wrote that person a letter of apology. Those of us who'd witnessed the incident (both of them) agreed it was the class thing to do, and our respect for him has greatly increased. Just food for thought.

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