Yes, yelling in the workplace would be considered harassment if it’s done with the intention of humiliating someone. Yelling, using abusive language, or insulting someone in the workplace is unethical and unprofessional, and anyone engaging in this kind of behavior should be taken to task to put an end to the problem.
It’s essential to understand why the person is yelling in the first place. Is it your boss? Is it one of your colleagues? Do they pick up on specific people and engage in targeted verbal abuse? Or does it happen occasionally, and they apologize for it later?
Suppose verbal abuse and yelling have been going on for quite some time. In that case, it can be considered harassment, especially if it appears discriminatory. And, of course, that is not allowed.
Even if a boss or senior colleague yells at their employees or juniors for disciplining them, doing so regularly could be considered harassment. But before you try taking any steps, it is crucial to consider several aspects to ascertain whether the behavior can be termed workplace harassment.
Can Managers Yell at Workplace at Their Employees?
No, managers and employers should not ideally yell at their juniors or employees. It is unprofessional and inappropriate to do so.
Yes, there may be times when one may lose their temper. Or they could be going through some personal issues that got the better of them.
However, the manager should apologize for their rude behavior in such cases. Not doing so could mean normalizing such behavior throughout the office, and any new manager could also do this later to their employees.
So it is essential that everyone follows the workplace protocols and be on their best behavior.
What to do if a Colleague Yells at You at The Workplace?
Some coworkers are short-tempered and rude, and they misbehave with their teammates. They usually behave this way because of their own insecurities or because they feel pressured by their work.
They often try to hide their ineptitude by yelling and behaving badly. They might also try to blame you and your other team members for hiding their own mistakes.
In such cases, you should first see if they behave in this manner only with you or with everyone. Do they have a grudge against anyone for behaving this way, or are they just entitled? That will give you an idea about how to proceed with them.
Unless you change your team or your job, you will be stuck working with them. So you must figure out how to handle such behavior without further antagonizing them.
You should first reason with them and tell them that their attitude is disruptive. It disturbs the workflow and leaves everyone else in a bad mood. If they do not mend their ways, you could start documenting their behavior and list instances when they behaved rudely.
You can speak to them a second time. If they still refuse to understand the intensity of the situation, you can speak to the manager. They might take action against this employee themselves or redirect you to HR. The management could reprimand them, and this often keeps them in check.
Why is Yelling Disruptive in The Workplace?
Yelling in the workplace can be problematic for various reasons. Allowing such behavior to continue can be very disturbing for everyone. Here is why?
1. Low Self Esteem
The person being yelled at is sure to feel insecure and will suffer from a lack of self-esteem after their boss or a senior colleague has yelled at them. Even if a coworker with a similar designation yells at them, it still feels humiliating and insulting. It feels like they have been singled out.
And someone who already has issues with confidence is bound to feel they are not good enough. They will retreat into a shell, which will hinder their performance.
2. Lack of Concentration
Yelling at the office disrupts the concentration of the employees concerned and the entire office. Even after the incident ends, the employees may think about it for hours.
Also, they may wonder what happened and how things will turn out later. It can happen, especially when the reason is something significant.
3. Increase in Office Politics
After a bout of workplace fights, everyone discreetly chooses sides, leading to unnecessary drama and increased office politics. Half the workforce will side with the person yelling, siding with them because they had a good reason for doing so.
The other half will support the person who was yelled at and was feeling terrible. In addition, there is also going to be a lot of gossip. All of this could have been avoided if the yelling hadn’t happened in the first place.
Yelling at the workplace often results in unwanted provocation. If someone gets away with yelling, others feel they can do the same. People start screaming and shouting at each other instead of resolving the issue calmly and composedly.
Some people assume that by yelling at others, they would be able to show their authority. It may lead to more future arguments, and the entire ambiance would be negatively impacted.
5. Poor Judgement
Yelling is a mark of poor judgment. The person yelling fails to look at things for what it is and reacts based on what they feel at the moment. If they get away with it, they continuously make poor judgments.
It snowballs into bad behavior till someone takes the drastic step of complaining to the management. And this could affect the entire team and vitiate the work environment.
Understanding The Reason Behind The Yelling And Handling it
Understanding the reason behind the yelling can help you cope with it efficiently.
- If your boss yells at you and your coworkers on the slightest pretext, he has a toxic attitude. He has a poor work ethic and doesn’t understand the importance of making their colleagues or employees feel appreciated.
- If your employer or manager only singles out certain people, then the intention is more discriminatory and harassment. Something about these employees makes the manager insecure, or they are biased against them due to their gender, race, or ethnicity.
- On the other hand, some employers are old school, believing that the only way to discipline employees is to create an atmosphere of fear and yell at them. That is how their employers might have behaved with them, and that is what they feel they should continue.
- Some other employers might also be ill-tempered and rude. But they only yell at employees in private and only to point out a mistake. While yelling is still not professional, the intention here is not to harass or embarrass the employee but only to teach them. The method is, however, not correct.
- You must look for patterns in their behavior for some time and decide what to do. You can often complain to the authorities as a last resort, but before that, trying to speak to the person is always a good idea.
You can also speak to your colleagues who might be subjected to the yelling frequently and decide to make a joint complaint if things go out of hand.
Does Yelling Mean a Hostile Work Environment?
Yelling does not always signify a hostile work environment. If only one or two people are rude, that does not make the entire office hostile. If you are being yelled at, you should practice keeping calm and concentrate on your work. Sometimes, these are temporary phases, and they pass.
However, only when the yelling continues, and you feel it has started disrupting your peace of mind should you consider asserting your rights and speaking to HR. If you think you are still being harassed, you should try to take matters into your own hands.
How to Stop Yourself From Yelling?
It’s very natural to react in the same way that you are being treated. So when someone yells at you, you may also feel the urge to yell back at them. If it’s a manager or an employer, on the other hand, you may be quiet for a while out of fear and respect, but this could get the better of you at some point.
Yelling back at them could cost you your job. On the other hand, if a coworker is yelling at you, it’s far more tempting to behave rudely with them and yell back at them because there is no hierarchy stopping you.
In such cases, you need to keep yourself calm at all costs. Your retorting and yelling back will only make things worse. Try going for therapy if this has been going on for some time and has been affecting you mentally. You can also try yoga and meditation to keep yourself relaxed and help with concentration.
If things worsen, you could consider changing your team or job. But it would be unwise to yell back, as that could also go on your records. You could be fired or sued for yelling at your boss or coworker, so you should avoid that.
Keeping a cool head when yelled at can prevent the matter from accelerating. Not everyone has mastery over their nerves, but doing so will help you move ahead.
Being able to control your anger and irritation is a sign of being a true leader. So if you are being yelled at, do not be afraid to take a stand when necessary and to stand up for yourself. But do so professionally so that no one has anything to say against you. The difficult phase will soon pass.