Should Bosses Publicly Criticize Their Employees?

It was the profanity heard ‘round the world. When New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman recently told Alex Rodriguez, the $300 million man and controversial baseball player, to “Shut the &^%^& Up” (Cashman used a word that rhymes with luck), the GM publicly criticizing his team’s most famous player became a national story.

Manager’s choice of words became a national story

While baseball is a very old-school profession, with locker-room talk and all sorts of silliness, some thought that Cashman went over the top in unleashing the F bomb in public about one of his employees. And it raised the question of how managers should talk to their employees.

Career coach Meredith Haberfeld says that the most important thing to ensure happiness at a workplace for employees is whether they get along with their manager, and that means mutural respect. And Dale Carnegie would have been appalled by what Cashman did – but in keeping with Carnegie’s personality and philosophy, he would never have directly called him on it.

Now, some say that Cashman is in the world of sports, where things are rough and tough. But ironically, Vince Lombardi, one of the toughest NFL coaches of all time, used to say to “praise in public, criticize in private.”

Treating employees with dignity will reap rewards

Here’s the thing – while you can still technically treat your staff like chattel, don’t be surprised if they act like animals in return.

If you want to have respect as a manager, you need to respect your staff as well. Think about how your employees might feel if you did such a public tongue-lashing of them. It would be bad enough to have a boss curse at you, but imagine if it were done on a public stage.

Career coach experts and workplace advisors say that remembering the Golden Rule – do onto others as you would have them to onto you – is still applicable in the workplace. Would you be okay if your boss cursed you out in front of the world? No? Then don’t do it yourself.

Taking the high ground is not always easy – who has not wanted to unleash a string of epithets when being frustrated by an employee – but it will reap benefits in the long run. Good luck.

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