When the Boss Is a Screamer


No one forgets a screamer—a boss who yells at workers, leaving them feeling powerless and constantly on edge, and sometimes reduced to tears when the explosion comes.

It is a figure Andrew Cornell vows not to become. He sometimes feels like yelling when employees at his manufacturing company don’t meet his expectations. But he bites his tongue. “Yelling is a vestige of a past time, and I always regret it,” says Mr. Cornell, chief executive of Cornell Iron Works in Mountaintop, Pa. Instead, he holds short, frequent meetings with employees having problems, rather than “waiting until the end, throwing a nuclear bomb and leaving blood all over the wall.”

Indeed, the yelling boss appears to be quietly disappearing from the workplace. The new consensus among managers is that yelling alarms people, drives them away rather than inspiring them, and hurts the quality of their work. Some bosses also fear triggering a harassment lawsuit or winding up as the star of a co-worker’s cellphone videotape gone viral.

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