Never mind what you learned watching “Gomer Pyle, USMC” and “Full Metal Jacket”, leadership is not about yelling at people. Yelling at your people doesn’t accomplish anything and usually does more harm than good.
Inexperienced or unskilled leaders will yell at their people when their people do something wrong. They yell because they’re trying to impress upon their people that a mistake was made and that the leader would prefer if they didn’t make that mistake again. But keep in mind that when your people make mistakes, it’s either because they don’t know better, they simply forgot or they don’t care.
If your people don’t know better – that is, if they don’t know how to do something right or forgot the correct way to do it – yelling at them isn’t helping because they already feel badly about being wrong. Your people don’t want to make mistakes, but mistakes sometimes happen to the best of us. In this case, the solution is not to yell, but to remind them what needs to be done, how to do it and why it’s important.
Most of the time, people just need a reminder of what is expected and then a chance to try it again. If you yell at them for making an honest mistake, you’ll only make them feel stupid and useless. This will make them resent and dislike you; after all, who enjoys being around or working for someone who makes them feel stupid and useless?
Sometimes people’s mistakes will be your fault, not theirs. If you don’t train them properly or don’t give them complete information on what is expected of them, how can you yell at them for failing? The fault is yours – and your people will know that as well.
Finally, what good does it do to yell at someone who doesn’t care to do the right thing? If he doesn’t care enough about what he’s supposed to do in the first place, then he sure doesn’t care about your yelling. In fact, your taking the time to yell at him may be giving him a thrill. You’re certainly giving him a lot of attention, aren’t you?
There are times when yelling is appropriate, but mostly those times are when you want to get someone’s attention when their mind is wandering; for instance, if Cadet Jones is staring at the birds during drill. But this is merely to get his attention so that you can explain his mistakes in a normal tone and get on with the job at hand.
Yelling at people for their mistakes is for bullies, not for leaders.