DrMrA and I have been having a conversation lately about yelling. Not yelling for fun, or joyful yelling, or enthusiastic yelling after a great result, or just plain speaking loudly, …. DrMrA is from southern Europe- so it seems like everyday conversation is just done at a higher volume with him… but we have been together a long time so I’m used to it. You can imagine the volume at gatherings of our extended families, my gentle northern European self has gradually become acclimated to this.
No, I’m talking about yelling as a form of personnel management. That yelling at people out of frustration, yelling to belittle someone, yelling as a form of manipulation. You know what I’m talking about.
I personally have never can not ever remember having yelled at one of my employees a single time- and nor could I ever in my wildest imagination see DrMrA doing so. I may be perfectly blunt sometimes, I may be direct- but I do not do this with a raised or threatening voice. Ever.
I have colleagues though who regularly yell at their students and postdocs- … and then when personnel announce that they are leaving the lab… because -guess what- they don’t like being yelled at… said colleagues scratch their heads and wonder why they can’t retain personnel. ?!?!! C’mon people.
I’ve got a news flash for you yellers out there… I can’t tell you this in person- you will get defensive and YELL… others have tried to and you wouldn’t listen…. but here goes anyway.
1. Yelling at people is inappropriate and disrespectful. PERIOD. You expect your employees to treat you with respect, and I’m here to tell you that this is a two way street.
2. Yelling is a form of abuse, trying to manipulate and intimidate someone with your voice. Do you enjoy it when someone does this to you? Does it make you respect, listen to, or complete whatever project needed to be done more quickly? I didn’t think so.
3. Yelling does not work as a form of personnel management. If you are frustrated with an employee, find a way to take this frustration out somewhere else PRIOR to talking to the employee in a logical, reasonable way that has a higher chance of getting what you want done, done.
4. If you can’t figure out a better way on your own- get yourself some training in effective techniques for personnel management. Buy a book if you must, talk to colleagues whose labs always seem to be running smoothly and whose employees are productive and beloved by their ‘people’.
Lest you think I never get frustrated with my employees- not so- I’m not sayin’ that from time to time I don’t have a personnel issue or two that vexes me. I do, everyone does. What I am saying is that it is more effective to use your head and make a pro-active plan to deal with a situation INSTEAD of yelling out a litany of complaints and demands at someone…. a poor strategy that I have seen many times but have never seen work.
That concludes this lecture by drdrA. And no, I’m not YELLING.