5 Whys is a blog about technical leadership in the software world.

Yelling at team members

This is perhaps one of the worst things a team leader could ever do with a team. Multiply that by 10 if that yelling is done in public.

It does not matter *how much* frustration you feel. It does not matter *how* much that team member might actually deserve it.

Do not yell at your team members.

By yelling, what happens is:

  • You remove any good will by that team member to ever want to work with you again
  • You personally hurt their feelings (a little or a lot, depending on their character, but you do)
  • If you're not hurting them, they view you as weak and unable to control the way you behave in public or in person
  • You are NOT solving the problem. you are just venting.
  • They are not really listening to you. they are looking at you, shouting.

"What can i do if I just can't control it?"

That is the weakest most pathetic argument I've heard people say. You *have* to control it, and it's not a matter of yes or no. The only time you get to be a yelling-at-your-team-members team leader who doesn't get kicked out after a few months is if you're the owner, or you're part of the owner's family.

Get a hobby that involves punching something. Or get a different type of job.

Take the following steps every time you find yourself yelling at someone:

  • STOP yelling immediately, and excuse yourself  - "I'll be back in a few minutes"
  • When you come back after taking a breather, APOLOGIZE to the person you just yelled at, in private.
  • Don't talk to them about the subject you just yelled at them for. Wait ONE FULL DAY.
  • The next day, make a short list of the points you wanted to make, in a calm mood. Use the word "I" to describe what you feel - "I feel like you just don't care what I ask you to do"
  • That's a start.
  • When you're not in a more calm type of conversation, you're on a better way than you were.

The Clean Coder

London Team Leader Course this July