Labor & Employment

Are Bosses Who Yell a Relic of the Past?


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Belligerent supervisors who yell at and bully their employees are slowly disappearing from the workplace.

So says the Wall Street Journal, which says “The new consensus among managers is that yelling alarms people, drives them away rather than inspiring them, and hurts the quality of their work.”

And, there are those bosses who likely fear a harassment lawsuit or “winding up as the star of a co-worker’s cellphone videotape gone viral.”

Mainly though, a growing body of research shows that employees don’t perform well when faced with verbal aggression, the WSJ notes. Citing research published this year by the Journal of Applied Psychology, workers under these conditions makes it more difficult for employees to understand instructions and even perform basic tasks.

Though the outwardly yelling bosses may be disappearing, workplace conflicts are still aplenty. And managers are using other ways to reprimand, often in ways that inflame, rather than resolve conflict or produce the desired results.

The WSJ notes several techniques to express anger in a more constructive way, including adding a waiting period before responding, lowering your voice, and hearing the person out, then summarizing before adding a response. And if all else fails, get a mediator or a colleague to help resolve the dispute.

For more, the Wall Street Journal is hosting a live chat today at 2:30 p.m. ET, featuring leadership coach Sylvia LaFair, president of Creative Energy Options, and Careers and Management deputy editor Francesca Donner.

Hat Tip: Pat’s Papers

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