I still remember exactly how it felt the last time a coworker Yelled at Me in Front of Everyone.
I was embarrassed, shocked, annoyed, angry… I went through a bunch of emotions pretty quickly!
I managed to maintain my composure and come out of it looking better than they did, but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone!
Here is how I handled being shouted at by one of my coworkers in front of an entire office, and my tips to help if it happens to you:
Coworker Yelled at Me in Front of Everyone! (Here’s how To Handle It)
1. Stay Calm and Don’t Respond to What They’re Saying
This is often easier said than done in the heat of the moment when you feel like you’re being picked on in front of everyone and want to defend yourself.
However, unless there is a very simple explanation that’ll defuse the situation, it’s better you don’t address what’s being said while your coworker is yelling.
You don’t want to risk saying something that’ll make the situation worse, and you don’t want to give them the satisfaction of getting a rise out of you.
Instead, listen to what they’re saying, maintain a confident posture, and tell them you’re willing to talk about it in a calm and productive way.
2. Talk About It with Them when Emotions Are Not Running High
We can’t make the best decision when we’re emotional, that’s just a scientific fact.
So, after your coworker has calmed down (or you have), set up a meeting with them to discuss what happened.
In this meeting, you’ll want to:
- Start by addressing the yelling. Remind them that it’s not an acceptable way to communicate, and explain how it made you feel.
- Then, move on to discuss whatever the original issue was that caused them to lash out. Be respectful and open-minded, and try to see their side of things.
- Finally, come up with a plan to avoid the situation happening again in the future. This could involve anything from setting up some ground rules for how you communicate with each other, to taking a break from working together on certain projects.
If you do these things I can almost guarantee you’ll both come out of that room feeling better and you shouldn’t find yourself in a similar situation again.
3. Understand Why the Conflict Happened
Figuring out why it happened is something you should always do after a conflict, but it’s especially important when the other person has lashed out at you in front of others.
I’m not saying it’s ever justified, but there’s usually a reason behind someone’s anger, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.
So, take some time to reflect on the situation and try to understand why they might have reacted that way.
If there is a trigger or something you can avoid in the future, even after you’ve smoothed things over you should avoid doing anything to set a coworker off where possible.
4. Don’t Take It Personally or Hold a Grudge
I can’t speak to your exact situation, but more often than not it’s not personal and it’s not your fault if a coworker screamed at you.
This can be hard to accept, especially if you feel like the situation was completely unprovoked and you didn’t deserve to be treated that way.
But if you hold a grudge or let it bother you, it’ll only make things worse for you in the long run.
It says more about their inability to handle their emotions and that they’re willing to act so unprofessionally that it does about whatever you said or did that set them off.
So, do your best to see it from the perspective of how they were unable to control themselves or conduct business in the correct manner, and don’t let it get to you.
5. Escalate the Issue to Their Manager if Needed
If you feel like the situation isn’t resolved after following the steps above, or if your coworker continues to act out in an unprofessional manner, you can always escalate it to their manager.
This isn’t something to do lightly as it can cause some issues between the two of you, but if you feel like it’s the only way to get them to stop yelling at you, then it’s something you’ll have to do.
Just be sure to document everything that’s happened so far, and be prepared to discuss the situation with your manager in a calm and professional manner.
What Is It Called When A Coworker Yells at You? (Bullying/Harassment)
There’s no one definitive answer to this question, as it can depend on the severity of the situation and how it made you feel.
But being yelled at or shouted at can be seen as bullying or harassment if it happens more than once.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to put up with this kind of behavior, and there are steps you can take to stop it from happening again.
If you feel like you’re being harassed or bullied at work, you should speak to your HR department or a manager about the situation.
Being yelled at by a coworker can be a very unpleasant experience, I’ve been on the receiving end of it myself so I can say that.
If it happens once, it may have been unavoidable, if it happens again it’s borderline inexcusable!
You might enjoy this Web Story explaining if/why you work in a toxic environment!
Is It Acceptable to Be Shouted at At Work?
Shouting is something that happens in some workplaces, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.
You shouldn’t have to put up with it if it happens to you, and if it’s common at your workplace this means you’re in a toxic environment with a toxic culture that probably will not change.
If a coworker yells at you, there are steps you can take to try and resolve the situation, and you certainly shouldn’t feel like you have to put up with it.
If you can’t stop someone from treating you in such an unprofessional and disrespectful manner, it’s time to start looking for a new job!
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.