When Is It Okay to Yell at Employees?
Never has been the conventional wisdom, but some say there are times when it can be appropriate to let loose.
Here are today’s highlights:
The platform’s recent turmoil has caused real pain for communities that considered Twitter a lifeline.
Ami Kassar isn’t convinced that Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary is all that wonderful.
Glassdoor has a new feature that gives business owners even more reason to pay attention.
Yes, 40 people lost their gall bladders, but at least Daily Harvest’s founder made the Forbes list of richest self-made women.
For Heidi Floyd and many others, the decline of a social media platform is no joke: “The drastic changes of late on the platform formerly known as Twitter have served as a punchline for jokes, delight for some, anger for others and confusion for most. There is, however, a group of users who have platform fatigue. As an early adopter, I joined just before my second diagnosis of breast cancer. Though not my initial reason for using the platform, it became something wholly unexpected; it became a lifeline. Waking at 2 a.m. in terror about the complexities of a cancer diagnosis, I would jump on and see who of shared experiences were willing to chat. Not once was I left alone. There was a group, #bcsm, who represented a global community of breast-cancer patients, caregivers, and even *gasp* medical and pharma personnel! We chatted candidly, openly and without shame about what we were experiencing, what we needed, what we feared, where we found joy and relief.”
“As myriad people leave what used to be Twitter to flock (see what I did there) to other apps, some of the community remain. We are weary as we consider the prospect of starting all over again, trying to find once again our fellow travelers on this journey.”
“However, we are also grateful—so very grateful. In human history, there has never been a way such as this to connect immediately with others globally. These platforms are so much more than a business venture.” READ MORE
Are there times when it’s okay to yell at employees? “Cait Brumme, chief executive of the MassChallenge business accelerator, practices a management philosophy that differs from the serenity-now mantras of many peers: It can be really productive to get mad. Just make sure you mean to. In Brumme’s international startup program, entrepreneurs (otherwise known as aspiring bosses) hone their products and leadership skills. Even though yelling is mostly passé as a motivational tool, that doesn’t mean supervisors should never raise their voices, she says. Delivered at the right time, in the right way, an occasional outburst can register as passionate and relatable. ‘It’s part of the humanity that employees seem to look for today,’ Brumme says.”
“Hollering in the workplace is often inappropriate—and can cross the line into abusive territory—and many companies have sought to eradicate it. As of last fall, toxic work cultures carry an adverse-health warning from the U.S. Surgeon General.”
“But others say they’d rather get a tongue-lashing and move on than deal with a boss who is passive-aggressive and resurrects previously unmentioned transgressions long after the fact. Like a fiery politician or coach, a manager who yells can appear committed.”
“Contemporary workplaces are generally kinder, more inclusive, and better overall, DiSpirito says. But when bosses try too hard to be nice—and avoid being labeled overbearing—they don’t always offer the constructive criticism employees need to grow.”
“So many bosses bottle up frustrations until they explode that the phenomenon, known as ‘silence or violence,’ has spawned a cottage industry of leadership tests that managers can take to assess their style under stress.” READ MORE
Ami Kassar is not impressed by Kevin O’Leary’s predictions of a small-business crisis: “Do you remember during the SVB ‘crisis’ when Kevin O'Leary, AKA ‘Mr. Wonderful,’ was all over the news, predicting the demise of regional banks and encouraging everyone to move their money to big banks as soon as possible? Last week, Kevin was on Capitol Hill, predicting a working capital crisis for small businesses with rising interest rates and predicting that capital will soon become too expensive for entrepreneurs. The irony of all his smoke and mirrors was when I approached Kevin a few years ago at a dinner to suggest that a banker should be on Shark Tank to provide alternatives to equity. He responded that he was the bank of Shark Tank, while sipping his mediocre wine.” READ MORE
Driven by consumers, the U.S. economy continues to grow faster than economists expect: “The economic recovery gained momentum in the spring as American consumers continued spending despite rising interest rates and warnings of a looming recession. Gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, rose at a 2.4 percent annual rate in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That was up from a 2 percent growth rate in the first three months of the year and far stronger than forecasters expected a few months ago. Consumers led the way, as they have throughout the recovery from the severe but short-lived pandemic recession. Spending rose at a 1.6 percent rate, slower than in the first quarter but still solid. Much of that growth came from spending on services, as consumers shelled out for vacation travel, restaurant meals and Taylor Swift tickets.” READ MORE
Glassdoor has a new feature that business owners should know about: “The workplace review platform, Glassdoor, is creating more opportunity for employees to anonymously air their grievances. Glassdoor has launched new message boards, called ‘bowls,’ to allow users to anonymously engage in ‘real talk’ around topics or companies they care about. Verified employees can join company specific bowls in which they can ask leadership anonymous questions and discuss corporate news, compensation packages or the latest office gossip with colleagues. While this feature allows for more candor and transparency, it also could impact corporate reputation, talent retention and recruiting if not monitored closely by comms and people teams.”
“These bowls can replace the banter and water-cooler talk that have disappeared due to remote or hybrid work, Glassdoor CEO Christian Sutherland-Wong told Axios. ‘The world of work has fundamentally changed, and so we want Glassdoor to evolve with it. We see this opportunity, as we now dive into real talk, for Glassdoor to be valuable to people not just at the times they're looking for a job but also these in-between times when they're an employee of the company as well.’”
“‘We were the ones who put salary sharing on the map. ... What we now see is that in the community [bowls], people talk about pay, and there's rapid conversations and just the sheer amount of content that gets contributed in a civil conversation can be 10 times what you're getting through the structured information collecting,’ says Sutherland-Wong.” READ MORE
America is sitting on $23 billion in unused gift cards: “Overall, higher-income households are more likely to have unused gift cards, with these households also holding on to the highest average value. For example, 62 percent of households making more than $100,000 have unused gift cards, with an average value of $238. Conversely, only 37 percent of households with an income under $50,000 have unused cards, with an average value of $199. Men tend to have more unused gift card value than women: they hold an average value of $213 per person, compared to women’s average value of $163 per person.”
“‘Putting your unused gift cards to work is a good inflation-busting strategy,’ said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst for Bankrate. ‘This is real money, so you might as well use it. I feel the same way about unused credit card rewards, frequent-flyer miles, and hotel points.’” READ MORE
Boston is handing out $2.8 million in grants to fill empty storefronts: “Demand for esthetician Akou Diabakhate’s skills was already high when she heard about a new city grant program aimed at filling up empty storefronts. After opening her salon, Bold Skin Babe, on Newbury Street in 2021, interest among suburban clients prompted her to open a second one in Brockton. Then the Senegal native learned about the city’s new SPACE program, or Supporting Pandemic Affected Community Enterprises, and decided to apply, with an eye toward going downtown. The Wu administration launched the program in November with $9 million from the city’s share of American Rescue Plan Act funds.”
“In May, Diabakhate learned she would get $100,000, enough for her to commit to a storefront on Tremont Street near City Hall. She said she’s not sure she would go downtown without the grant to help with rent and supply costs.”
“Diabakhate’s small business is one of 24 winners in the first round of SPACE grants announced by Mayor Michelle Wu on Wednesday morning. While many neighborhoods will have at least one winner, eight recipients are eyeing downtown Boston while seven more are heading to Dorchester, the city’s largest neighborhood.”
“Marcus Hamblin and Sarah Marchione, interior designers who attended Boston Architectural College together, plan to use their $200,000 grant to launch Flourish & Foundry, a home furnishings business, near where Bold Skin Babe plans to set up shop.” READ MORE
Here’s how Daily Harvest, the vegan food startup, went from celebrity glitz to cautionary tale: “One day last October, as chants of ‘Kale yeah, kale yeah!’ and ‘Power to the parsnips!’ echoed throughout a Connecticut campground, 100 or so Daily Harvest employees were indulging in some months-delayed corporate bonding. They were at Harfest, the vegan meal startup’s two-day retreat, where, along with talking business and playing games, there was a silent disco, s’mores with vegan marshmallows, and a boozy superheroes-and-villains-themed party with a live band. The company’s chief executive officer, Rachel Drori, wore a green tutu, a yellow cape and a long-sleeved green shirt emblazoned with the letter ‘G,’ reminiscent of the DC Comics superhero Green Lantern, except her ‘G’ was surrounded with recycling arrows.”
“Like many things at Daily Harvest, the retreat appeared to have been designed with an eye toward social media. It had a hashtag (#harfest) and a logo (a bear roasting two marshmallows over a fire). And it got attention, though not the kind Drori probably intended.”
“She’d postponed the festival’s original June date after the company recalled a product—little balls of plant protein called French Lentil + Leek Crumbles—that made some people so ill, more than 130 ended up in the hospital, and some 40 of them had to have their gallbladders removed.”
“Days before the crumbles fiasco blew up—as complaints from customers were already trickling in—Forbes named Drori to its list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women, putting her net worth at $350 million.” READ MORE
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
Escaping the Valley of Death: This week, Shawn Busse tells Jay Goltz and Jennifer Kerhin that he’s realized that his business, too—like Jennifer’s—is stuck in the valley of death that we first discussed a couple of episodes ago. Shawn’s realization prompts a discussion of what it takes to cross the desert and get out of the valley. We also have a surprisingly entertaining and enlightening conversation about insurance that makes clear why you should occasionally review what policies you have and why you have them. “I have something called directors insurance,” says Jennifer, “and I don't really even know what that is.” Shawn notes that he found a company that helped him reassess several of his insurance lines. “What I like about that,” he told us, “is that while insurance brokers are incentivized to oversell you, because they make commissions,” this company sells its expertise and not policies.”
“Plus: we start the episode with Jay explaining why binge-watching HBO’s Succession brought back all of his worst nightmares about owning a family business.
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Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren