Is It Ever OK to Yell at Work?

I was recently interviewed by the Huffington Post for a story that had been prompted by reports that Steve Jobs had yelled at Apple CEO Tim Cook 4-5 times during their working career. Emily Peck, the Huffington Post’s Executive Business Editor, wanted to explore whether or not it was ever OK to yell at work. In the few days since the article went live, it has generated a lot of debate – both for and against.

I'd like to think that throughout the course of a thirty- or forty-year career we all a few “chits” we can cash in should we find ourselves raising our voices. The key is figuring out when and if it's the time is right to use one.

Each interaction presents us with choices as to how we present ourselves and how we react. If we take a moment to make an informed choice and consider the alternatives, I am confident there is a better alternative to yelling. Problems arise when we simply react, rather than respond.

I took a quick straw poll with my colleagues. What picture does the word 'yelling' conjure up for you? The key themes were someone who is angry, up close and in your personal space, red-faced, raising their voice, spittle coming out of their mouth as they let a tirade loose at you. It's intimidating, it's scary, and it's NEVER acceptable.

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