Yelling and Confrontation

I want to thank those who shared their comments on this article and LinkedIn discussion. It’s not a conventional topic and I know it wasn’t easy for some of you to express your opinions. I’m glad that you did.

I’m very aware that some of you might have some deep-rooted seeds from being yelled at yourself and this article might have uprooted some of those sensitive emotions.

I know what it feels like to be yelled at for no reason. To be made to feel small. To feel shame at the receiving end of someone else’s anger. Whether it was my parents screaming at me just to vent their own frustrations of being in a new country, with no money, not knowing the language, or the kids at school who yelled at me because I was a foreign alien, of different color, different ethnicity.

I grew up in Minnesota, back in the 70’s, when Asians were unknown, uncommon, and un-welcome.

Since the age of 3, people screamed at me “chink, gook, jap” and many other slurs for no reason. Just because of who I was. This went on until I was 18. Some just got in my face and would yell. I know what it’s like to get yelled at for no rational reason.

And yes, it challenged my self-esteem and identity–making me question if I liked myself.

I have some deep seeds when it comes to confrontation and yelling. It stirs up feelings and scars from deep down. But I have learned to look beyond. Rise above and consciously recognize that yelling does have it’s own place and time. It can be useful. It can be effective. It’s important to not throw out the baby with the bath water (and not to let your seeds hold you back).

Being all things to all people is an essential quality of a successful leader.

I’ve had over 100 employees during my career of over 8 clinics, and 3 other businesses, and learned that some people require gentle nurturing and encouragement to thrive, while others need to be kicked in the ass to grow.

Step out of your comfort zone.

There was a time (when I was a novice in business), I used to simply let people go after several violations after I was fed up. I would sit down with them and calmly explain why I was letting them go (the fluffly version). I would explain how they were not a good fit, and that there was probably a better job out there for them, and so on and so on. I pretty much fired them nicely you could say. No yelling. No expression of any frustration or anger of any kind. I kept it inside.

That was then.

Now that I’m older, wiser, and much more successful, I realize there is a better way. I’ve incorporated a buffer–sort of an intermediate step you could say. Instead of going straight to firing them nicely, I am open, honest and genuine with them. I tell them how angry their attitude or mistake made me feel. Why it was wrong and what type of consequences it caused. And why, even though it’s grounds for termination, I will forgive them (this time). And sometimes I yell during it. But you know what? It sinks in. It sinks in most of the time. And it leads to the person being grateful. Grateful that someone actually talked to them in a genuine way–that I gave them another chance and exercised forgiveness.

And it subsequently leads to a better relationship. The person performs better, with more passion. More loyalty.

Your practice will not succeed until you know how to “mobilize” your team to greatness.

Yes, I said it…GREATNESS*. Each one has it, but not all know it. Some you must gently nurture it out of them. Some you aggressively kick it out.

Your people must take ownership of your organization, their organization. They must become a family…with you the head. Or you will constantly worry. It will just be another business. It will just be work. And you won’t have a life. You will constantly fear. Constantly worry. Constantly struggle.

Some of you might feel you are not a leader type.

Well, if you have a practice you better become one. Own up. Skill up. And become one. Step out of your comfort zone.

I encourage regular trainings (not meetings). We do 3 trainings per month. We eat together at least once per month. Potluck, etc. We have a team fellowship every Monday morning for words of wisdom before we start the week. They love it and would kill me if I tried to stop it.

We are family and that’s how we do it.

Be all things to all people. Put aside your seeds. Put aside your fears. Stop being cordial. Stop being politically/socially correct.

Be real. Be you. Create greatness.*

Just wanted to share. It’s brought much joy and reward throughout the years.


*Out of all the creatures in the universe, we humans are the only one’s created in HIS image. We all have Greatness in us.

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James Ko

I believe... "It's not the strongest practices that survive and grow, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most adaptable to change." I'm a physical therapist, private practice owner, and founder of IndeFree Association. I like reading James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, enjoy golfing and playing guitar. I love playing with Mac and Cozy! For over 15 years, I've helped thousands of practices grow and succeed. This is my dedication.

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