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What Does Yelling and Screaming Do to Your Staff?

I once had the priviledge of hearing an owner of a company say that he did not hire anyone that could not be yelled at. Of course this was in a relaxed setting and none of his employees were there only other business associates. It was in the multifamily industry and it made me think was he just talking or was he for real? I mean his company is ranked in the top 100 in the nation, but I am sure he does not hire everyone either.

Through me years of experience, I find that when you talk to your people as adults you get a better reaction than to yell and scream at them. Being a manager also means you are a leader and there are those who can manage, but they cannot lead or have developed some very bad habits.

Yelling and screaming does not do anything except place yourself in a bad light and you lose your audience. If you are a mature manager and you treat your staff as mature individuals you will get a lot further.

As a retired Sergeant Major with 25 years of service and as a senior housing manager, I never had to yell at my personnel. Did I get upset? Sure I would get upset, but it did not mean that I treat my people other than adults and professionals.

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  • Here is what came to my mind as soon as I read your post

    "Yelling and screaming at people to get results is as effective as honking the horn to steer your car". The seriousness of something can be expressed very effectively without yelling and screaming.

  • Gee, I'm not sure what I would do if a higher up yelled and screamed at me at work. I might laugh. Then I wonder what he/she would do?

  • The past 3 managers I have followed were just that. What you get is a staff who has attitudes or that will not talk to you because they are afraid you will do the same. And yes, these same managers would yell at residents too. I always say that is I have to yell, we have a problem...and I don't yell.

  • sweetjennevieve

    This hit home with me because our VP, who resides on site and is often in our office, is an antagonistic leader. She rules with fear and threats. Though it is effective in the sense that she is "feared", I don't think she has the kind of respect she'd recieve if she approached her staff in a more relateable manner.>:(

  • Grisenia Matos

    Yelling and screaming are ineffective and in my view shows a leader with low emotional intelligence. It leads to non-production overtime, disloyalty and rudeness. More importantly, is to: lead by example; coach; mentor; train; empower; create and implement realistic/reasonable policies and procedures; provide clear direction, expectations and goals; institute quality control measures; hold persons accountable for their actions and decisions; and give praise/rewards for a job well done. Thoughe actions are time consuming, I have found that in doing these one gets staff to out-perform, exceed expectations and increase longevity in an organization; and lastly, create future leaders for the organization.

  • i agree with you that he owner of a top 100 company doesn't do the hiring for leasing agents, maintenance, etc.

    But I'm going to throw some reality into this situation - having worked in different industries at different managerial or director levels as well as in property management, I don't know anyone that hasn't at one point popped their top, inlcuding myself. But this is when he/she/they are behaving absolutely crazy, repeatedly make glaring errors, disregard directions to the point where it has thrown a wrench into the works and has affected operations or have severely overstepped their boundaries. I certainly don't recommend it as a training tool or as the standard means by which to issue feedback or as a disciplinary session. This is going to sound condescending, but if you're at a point in your career where you haven't come across that type of situation then you still have a ways to go or have not been at a managerial level for very long. It's similar to the statement people without children make: if you just respect your kids/teenagers then they'll behave as you want them to.

    And yes I have yelled at residents and even told one to shut up when they thought they could just push staff or management around. Managers/directors/VPs/owners are human just like anyone else, and when their buttons are repeatedly pushed and have gone the patient/mentoring/training/etc route, repeatedly set expectations that were blatantly ignored and the person(s) once again pushes that button then I think they got what they deserved and needed that rude awakening. And I'm pretty sure that if it got to that point then no one would be snickering at the scene.

    I do hate that tactic when it used on those on the lower end of the totem pole because these are usually the ones that are afraid to stand in defense for fear of being fired even if they are right.

    I had a GM that used that tactic as their standard form of communication, and oh my gosh were they surprised when their best manager (me) quit.

  • me

    I do not yell ever at my staff...but the humor of it is that I have overheard them alleging I yelled when in fact I gave them a calm stern talking too. I do not yell, I find it to be demeaning to people and childish. Yes we all pop our tops, but self control is a necessity in this world and I hope that all are able to find it.

  • It is condescending to suggest that one still has a ways to go or hasn't been in management level very long to encounter a boss or supervisor who yells. I have seen upper management scream and yell in offices but those typically are NOT the people site team members deal with on a daily basis.

    As a Manager, one has to be able to take a breath and not let situations so adversely affect them that they "pop their tops." I am not saying it is easy - but anyone can learn how to react to things.

    I've been in property management in several different positions, had lunch and/or dinner with the Movers and Shakers of some organizations (yep - right there at the same table) and none of them has ever yelled at me. I have had a couple of animated conversations with one or two, but at the end of day, we respect one another. A lively discussion is an opportunity to see all sides of a problem and solution. And I will say if I encountered a Manager who yelled at a Resident I would ask for that person's key and tell him/her to not let the door hit you on the way out.

  • I think you're taking some of the commentary out of context, I wouldn't expect someone to just start yelling during a luncheon or other quasi social work event, that reference doesn't even make sense Mindy. And I didn't refer to someone just yelling or screaming just becaus they could get away with it.

    I'm referring to just what I described and nothing else. I think if you read it more closely you'll understand what I'm talking about.

    It is interesting to hear the defense of the residents without regard to the situation though. Having had to get between a group of residents who were harassing one individual, yelling was called for in order to get their attention and make them aware that if the situtaion progressed any further they would all be facing eviction. Not all situations are the cookie cutter ideal as they're presented in training classes.

  • You know the first thing I am going to do is give my creditials and then explain why yelling and screaming puts one in a bad light as well as possible danger because when one yells and scream they are not controlling the situation.
    I am a decorated combat arms and combat support retired noncommissioned officer that have lead from as few as one and as many as 1200 in peace and in combat and I did this for 25 years and my men only heard me scream and yell in physical training, in combat to be heard over the noise on the battlefield and to strike fear into the enemy. As a civilian I have been an operations officer in a community as well as a regional vice president of multifamily properties and I never had to yell or scream with over 35 plus years of experience as a leader and manager. I think I am qualified to speak on yelling at your staff or tenants can spiral out of control. First, you never know the experience of a person and what they are capable of. Violence happens in seconds and I have found most people are in shock when it happens. Yes I have had leaders that have yelled at me, but they only did it once. I believe people do not mess up on purpose and want to be successful and they will make mistakes because of lack of experience and training. I look at myself first to determine what can I do to help them be a success. I have seen people only do what they are told because the yeller and screamer caused that type of atmosphere. Telling a tenant to shut up can back fire you have someone suffering from PTSD and they can turn a person's world upside down. Now I must admitt that I do have a couple things going for me where most people think about what they are saying as I am not no small shrimp and because I am calm when I am talking and do not raise my voice they have to stop yelling to hear what I am saying. I know of one property in Atlanta where the manager had to wear a vest everyday. I know another manager in New York who went off on a tenant and the tenant pulled a weapon on the manager and she realized she had yelled at the wrong person. Fortunately there was someone there to control the situation. She quit after that episode because I guess she realize her ticket was about to be punched. Yes I went beyond staff, but to get an idea that you do not need to scream at adults. Yes, I have children and between 3 and 6 for the most part I had to raise my voice, but when they got older all I had to do was look at them and they were straight. One last note I was also the one who got the soldiers other units gave up on and were ready to kick them out of the military and you know of all the soldiers I received there was only one that I kicked out. My secret was lead by example and treat them like the mature adults they were expected to be.

  • Now as an after thought I want people to understand there are many situations where one may want to justify their actions and maybe there are cases where things worked out, but the odds for success are far less. There has to be someone with a cool head to be able to control the situation. There have even been times when I have not said a word and just picked up the phone and had the police come in and handle the out of control person. You know when they came in again they acted like a mature adult. Word gets around when they know you stay cool and don't take no mess.

  • Nate it's great to hear your point of view, and I'll also list my credentials, a resume that includes Digital Equipment Corporation (which should also give you an idea of my age) IBM, private venture captital firms, from sales manager to branch manager to operations manager and onto director of business development. I've done business in every continent in the world and managed international teams all of which performed successfully. That being said I'll invite you to re-read what I wrote earlier to get a better understanding of the context in which my comments are presented. I did not get the impression that your original post was meant to describe someone who yelled and screamed every day at everyone possible and that's not how mine are described. Please understand the difference. I'm actually surprised at the reaction in light of all of the verbiage of understanding and ability to communicate effectively.

  • Hello Janet,

    This is one professional speaking with another and I have not taken issue as we are all a product of our experiences. We all learn what works for us and some are more affective than others. I like discussing different points of views and during these times I respect others differences. I do not have to agree with them, but respect them as we all go about our work and approach it differently and our personalities and experiences come into play.

    So rest assured from my side I respect what you bring to the table and for me it is educational the imput from all sources. I look at it like clothing, just because it is there does not mean I have to wear it. We all have choices and we all choose a lane. We either obey the traffic laws or we violate them. They are choices that we make. So, you are OK with me. Sometimes in written communication the receiver takes on a tone which may not have been the intent of the sender. I picked this topic because it brings a lot of debating and through it all it may give some a moment of pause to think how they are and pick up on some fresh ideas.

  • LOL, Janet! Obviously, in social situations at a corporate function, there is a tendency to behave in a more dignified way, and generally speaking, no one is likely to blow up about something. I wasn't referring to that scenario. Sorry for the confusion! : ) However, some of those same people I have seen in the office setting, leaders of multi million dollar companies who stand around screaming and throwing a tantrum and even throwing items across the room because Property A's occupancy, revenue or other numbers are not where the company standard is, or there is delay on a project completion, or a set back. It kind of rolls downhill ... the VP will contact the RPM who in turn contacts the Manager who in turn takes it out on the Assistant, Leasing Consultant, etc. I am in agreement with Nate that we are a product of our experiences and we have all learned to behave in ways that work for us. But I truly believe that no matter who we are, no matter what our educational levels, we can be better and we can learn to behave differently. We can learn the art of self control.

    Residents who walk in with a problem or complaint, or who refuse to cooperate with the terms of their Leases, deserve to be treated with respect. I have handled all kinds of volatile situations with drug dealers, domestic issues and threats. I have been there when children were removed from homes and the parent is screaming every obscenity you can imagine at me. Like Nate, there have been many times when I simply call for police back-up. I have been at Neighborhood Watch meetings when emotions run to the extreme because people do and say things out of fear and anger when they might normally not ever think to. Cooler heads always have to prevail. Someone has to be the voice of reason.

    Violence begets violence. Sometimes you just have to walk away. When I was very new in this business the Property Manager threw all "kinds of fits" all the time toward the Maintenance team (supervisor especially) but she lasted only 3 months once I got there because a company needs a leader who can see situations for what they are, who can creatively brainstorm solutions, who can laugh at themselves during times of duress, who are not perfect Stepford Execs, but who want to create a work environment where trust is a key ingredient.

    Once trust is established with the person in charge, if that person should "lose it", I would think people would understand that it uncharacteristic. If someone gets upset and yells and it happens every day, I don't think most people would want to work there.

  • I thought it was a great topic Nate and it did bring about different viewpoints. Really, my own viewpoint was it happens, even to the best of us.

    And Mindy, although I accept what you're saying I certainly wouldn't use sideways derogatory terms such as lack of maturity or lack of education. That's mere speculation based upon disagreement with your perspective.

    However, I do have a good story on that topic - a co-worker and I were doing the same dumb thing over and over and driving the boss crazy. Normally a patient person and more than willing to listen and be challenged, but it went too far and the boss finally laid down the law in no uncertain terms. It was not in a kindly, mentoring fashion. It was clear we'd frustrated this person past the point of any tolerance. At that moment it would have been a poor career choice to laugh at the reaction. However, it was clear that by our own actions we'd brought it on ourselves and any warm, correcting, kindly, respectful tones would have gone unheeded. We deserved what we got. The work relationship didn't suffer with either boss or co-worker and as a matter of fact later in time both my co-worker and I either teased or joked about it with the boss - who took it in stride.

    Hey, everyone's human.

  • marieh

    When I was hired at my current job I had nothing but respect for my boss....until a problem came up and she started yelling and screaming at all of us. I was totally stunned and haven't felt the same about that boss since. I respect her knowledge that she has but I do not respect her. I am looking for another job because I can't stand the thought of seeing her day to day. She pretty much said we were all "thieves and liars" and didn't trust any of us. What kind of manager is that? A pretty lousy one if you ask me.