Dealing with a Bad Boss? Look to Your Own Actions to Find Help - International Coaching Federation
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Dealing with a Bad Boss? Look to Your Own Actions to Find Help

Posted by Savannah Patton | January 17, 2019 | Comments (0)

When faced with a bad boss, our tendency can be to shut down, become irritable and mimic those bad behaviors as well. However, that could be making matters worse.

According to a recent study, employee behavior influences the behavior of bosses more than you think. The anxiety and self-esteem of employees, as well as how they perceive leadership, plays a big part in how leaders and bosses conduct themselves in the workplace.

The research, conducted by Professor Susanne Braun of Durham University; Professor Ronit Kark, based at Bar-Ilan University; and Professor Barbara Wisse, based at the University of Groningen, looked at the three “nightmare traits” at the core of dark leadership: dishonesty, disagreeableness and carelessness. When these traits are combined with an extroverted leader with low emotional intelligence, it can lead to serious negative consequences.

“Surprisingly, not only leaders’ but also followers’ dark-sides have emerged as hindering factors for organizational functioning. We are moving away from the somewhat unidimensional view that leaders are omnipotent and solely to blame for negative outcomes in organizations,” says Braun.

The researchers used a range of techniques, from experimental evidence to real-life observations, to form this collection of research on this topic. In most studies about organizational leadership, the follower traits are not examined or blamed for those of the leaders, but in this collection of research, they are.

“There is a growing awareness that the positive side of leadership and followership should be complemented by a focus on the darker side. There are also plenty of ‘gray areas’ in-between, where further insights are needed,” says Wisse.

The authors of this study believe that the findings from this research will be useful to help organizations and leaders determine what drives dark-sided behavior and help solve the problem.

“A good start 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,” explains Kark.

A coaching culture is one such type of organizational culture that helps to foster trust, respect and other positive values.

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Savannah Patton

Savannah Patton is the ICF Communications Assistant and a freelance writer for Kentucky Sports Radio. She graduated in May 2016 from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor's degree in Integrated Strategic Communications with a focus in Public Relations.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

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