- Employees' self-esteem, anxiety and how they see leadership behavior can affect a boss' behavior — good or bad. This is the finding from research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The research also indicates that employees' coworkers, as either leaders or followers, can be buffers against undesirable traits in a manager. Prof. Susanne Braun of Durham University, UK, and co-editor of the research, said that the dark sides of both leaders and followers can affect organizations' negative outcomes.
- The research examines what it calls 'three nightmare traits' at the core of negative leadership: carelessness, dishonesty and disagreeableness. When a leader is highly extroverted, but low in emotionality, employees and organizations can experience highly negative consequences, such as turnover, absenteeism, poor performance and stress.
- The research also concluded that ethical behavior can reduce negative behavior, and found that when employees had high self-esteem, leaders were less likely to justify unethical practices with results. Conversely, employees with low self-esteem viewed narcissistic leaders as abusive, leading them to exhibit poor performance and symptoms of burnout.
The researchers said businesses and professionals can use their findings to find out what drives the dark side of leaders, or bosses, and followers, or employees. The research points out that employers looking to correct managers can look at not only what bad bosses do, but perhaps also show workers how to mitigate their behavior. As another study concluded, a boss' occasional bad day won't necessarily give an employee a reason for leaving a job. A manager's chronic bad behavior can pose a serious problem to the workplace, though. Bad bosses rank within the top six reasons workers quit their jobs, according to an OfficeTeam survey released in July.
Another author of the study, Ronit Kark, who is based at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, said in the report, "A good start [for businesses] could be a positive organizational culture that buffers against negative leadership. Perceived accountability, organizational transparency, and values such as trust, respect and support can offset some of the negative effects a few individuals may have on the overall organization."