Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Yelling Bullies Atmosphere Fairness Quitting Time Feedback Corporate Culture

When one of the people in my department made a huge mistake on a project, I screamed at him. He went to my boss and I was formally reprimanded. The problem is that when I make a mistake, my boss yells his head off at me, and he's not the only one around here who yells. Does this sound fair and what should I do?

Working at your company sounds like a real scream. In this kind of environment, it is not surprising that you yelled at your employee.

In the first place, it seems like the company has a culture that condones yelling, berating, and other forms of verbal abuse. When there are screamers at the top of an organization, it is not surprising to see and hear others modeling their behavior at all job levels.

In addition, many people learn much about managing from their own managers. In a word, if you report to a screamer, the odds are that you will be a screamer too.

As for being reprimanded for screaming in an organization that has seemingly turned yelling into a normal and acceptable practice, it is understandable that you are upset. However, rather than being upset about being punished for a behavior that others commit with impunity, you should take a step back and recognize that this organization is not only abusive, it is also has a serious case of inconsistency, inequity, and nastiness, and it is infecting you.

Sometimes with all the screaming going on, it may be hard to hear the real message: Does this literally sound like the right organization for you?

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!