The Impact of Bad Bosses

More

New research has found that bad bosses affect how your whole family relates to one another; your physical health, raising your risk for heart disease; and your morale while in the office.

maisn shutterstock_39893308.jpg

The psychological climate in which you work has a lot to do with your health and happiness. Recent research has found, perhaps not surprisingly, that bad bosses can affect how your whole family relates to one another. They can also affect your physical health, raising your risk for heart disease.

Now, new research illustrates how bad bosses can shoot themselves in the foot, hindering their employees' morale, rather than helping it.

Over 1,100 employees at companies of all sizes were questioned about their work environments and their overall well-being. Some questions aimed at gauging the level of involvement the participants felt and at determining their bosses' management styles. Participants rated statements like "my supervisor consults with me to find out what modifications I would like to make to my work" and "my supervisor tries to motivate me by making me feel guilty for not doing enough." Some statements, such as "the organization shows very little concern for me," measured the support the participants felt their companies provided.

The more negative the bosses' management style, the less happy the workers -- not a surprising finding. When bosses were controlling rather than encouraging, employee well-being was low. On the other hand, when employees felt that their autonomy was encouraged (for example, when bosses gave a "meaningful rationale for doing the tasks" and made employees feel they were being asked to contribute rather than commanded to do something), they also had better overall well-being.

The psychological climate of the organization itself also affected participants' happiness: The more supportive the company, the happier the employee.

Some of the findings in the study are intuitive: Most people can tell you that a bad boss can seriously affect one's work experience and overall happiness. But pinpointing the relationship in a scientific study is tricky. For example, it is not clear how and to what degree employees' on-the-job performance affected their bosses' behavior. Hopefully, as more studies support the connection, more companies will come to realize how much the attitudes of their supervisors can affect the well-being -- and, likely, productivity -- of their workers.

The study was carried out at the Université Francois Rabelais, and published in the Journal of Business and Psychology.

Image: olly/Shutterstock.


This article originally appeared on TheDoctorWillSeeYouNow.com, an Atlantic partner site.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Alice G. Walton, PhD, is a health journalist and an editor at The Doctor Will See You Now.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?

How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In