Researchers from the University of Florida looked at surveys of 116 leaders across a broad range of fields and found that acting abusively can harm bullying bosses' psychological welfare (stock image)

Abusive bosses feel bad about being bullies

Most people will encounter a tyrannical ruler in the workplace at some stage in their career.

But bosses who abuse their position are also hurting themselves in the process.

Researchers have found that with bullying bosses make themselves miserable by feeling less competent and respected after losing control.

And the team behind the paper believes that their findings could shape the type of characteristics we look for in managers in the future.

Researchers from the University of Florida looked at surveys of 116 leaders across a broad range of fields and found that acting abusively can harm bullying bosses' psychological welfare (stock image)

Researchers from the University of Florida looked at surveys of 116 leaders across a broad range of fields and found that acting abusively can harm bullying bosses' psychological welfare (stock image)

Researchers from the University of Florida looked at surveys of 116 leaders across a broad range of fields and found that acting abusively can harm bullying bosses’ psychological welfare (stock image)

ABUSIVE BOSSES

Researchers from the University of Florida looked at surveys of 116 leaders across a broad range of fields and found that acting abusively can harm bullying bosses’ psychological welfare.

They found abusive managers had trouble relaxing after work and were less likely to feel competent, respected and independent in the workplace.

The study suggests that agreeable leaders may be less susceptible to the misbehaviour brought on by psychological power.

It’s also possible that the consequences of psychological power may be self-policing.

If a leader acts abusively, then goes home and feels bad about it, they might come back to work the next day feeling less powerful and behave better.

Business and management experts from the University of Florida looked at surveys of 116 leaders across a broad range of fields, including engineering, medicine, education and banking, over a three-week span.

They found abusive supervisors had trouble relaxing after work and were less likely to feel competent, respected and independent in the workplace.

Although this is unlikely to elicit much sympathy from staff on the receiving end of their ire, it does shake up the image of an unfeeling monster that they may project.

Rather than structural power, or a leader’s position in the hierarchy of their organisation, the study looked at psychological power, or how powerful a leader feels.

They found that this changes as bosses move through the workday.

When leaders feel powerful, they are more likely to act abusively and perceive more insubordination or rudeness from their coworkers, which in turn harms their own well-being.

Trevor Foulk, who led the research as a doctoral student at the university, said: ‘This flips the script on abusive leadership.

‘We always think those who have power are better off, but having power is not universally or exclusively good for the power holder.

‘We tend to assume that powerful people just go around and abuse and they’re totally fine with it, but the effect of power on the power holder is more complex than that.

‘Even though your boss may seem like a jerk, they’re reacting to a situation in a way many of us would if we were in power.

‘It’s not necessarily that they’re monsters.’

They found abusive supervisors had trouble relaxing after work and were less likely to feel competent, respected and independent in the workplace

They found abusive supervisors had trouble relaxing after work and were less likely to feel competent, respected and independent in the workplace

They found abusive supervisors had trouble relaxing after work and were less likely to feel competent, respected and independent in the workplace

Avoiding the negative effects of power in the future might require us to rethink the qualities we look for in a leader, according to the team.

And the study suggests that agreeable leaders, those who value social closeness, positive relationships and workplace harmony, may be less susceptible to the misbehaviour brought on by psychological power.

It’s also possible that the consequences of psychological power may be self-policing.

If a leader acts abusively, then goes home and feels bad about it, they might come back to work the next day feeling less powerful and behave better.

This is a phenomenon Dr Foulk is studying for a future paper.

The full findings of the current study were published in the Academy of Management Journal.

Posted on; DailyMail>>

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