World of Work

Abuser or just demanding?

It is not easy to understand how adequate the manager’s requests are: sometimes the tough approach of the bosses is perceived as a biased attitude, sometimes the toxic demeanor is swallowed and taken for granted.

We figure out how to distinguish a strict but fair boss from the manipulator and the abuser.

Why have they talked about toxicity so often lately?

Most likely because of the growing psychological literacy of society. In the West, the issue of the comfort and humanity of the working environment has been raised much earlier.

For the first time, the importance of the social climate and its influence on the productivity of workers began to be discussed after the Hawthorne experiment – in the period from 1924 to 1932, scientists tried to establish the relationship between the physical working conditions, psychological microclimate and the productivity of manufacturers.

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Almost a century later, the question remains relevant. In 2015, for example, psychologists at the University of Warwick surveyed 713 office workers and found that feeling happy in the workplace increased their productivity by 12%. In 2017, the New York Academy of Management came to similar conclusions.

How do you know that something is wrong with your boss?

Most Toxic leaders have common behaviors – disrespectful attitude towards team members and process management, similar to training. Usually such bosses:

  • make public reprimands and stinging remarks without constructive criticism;
  • ignore the team’s suggestions, considering their ideas the best;
  • abuse their position, crush authority;
  • demonstrate condescending and devaluing behavior: they do not allow to finish, ask a question and defiantly ignore the answer, do not warn about canceled meetings and changes in the status of the task;
  • discriminate against clients and colleagues based on gender, nationality, age, and other characteristics.

Deviations in boss behavior can also be counted on the toxic leadership scale proposed by psychologist Andrew Schmidt. He identified five aspects in the behavior of bosses, each of which is worth a conditional point: authoritarianism, total control of work processes, narcissism, obsessive self-promotion, and unpredictability. The more points your boss gets, the worse.

Are all strict bosses toxic?

No, not all. There is a fundamental difference between demanding leaders and abusive leaders: the former never humiliate the team, listen to all suggestions and criticize them constructively – so that after a conversation you want to correct the mistake and close the problem, and not sink into the ground.

Sometimes bosses demand to provide regular reports and meticulously analyze errors in projects – without getting personal and with an understanding of how processes can be improved. Under the leadership of such managers, professionals grow up who will not be left without work.

Are all toxic bosses strict?

Not again. Sometimes abusive bosses disguise themselves as friends, stealing personal time from employees. For example, such employers make it a habit to clarify work issues on weekends or late at night in an ostensibly friendly manner, often arrange meetings in private time for subordinates, and take offense if they do not come.

Why do managers behave aggressively?

Respondents from the HSE study are sure that mainly bosses are hostile to demonstrate their power (47%) and because of their inability to behave differently with subordinates (37 %); 18% of respondents consider aggression to be an integral part of their boss’s character, another 14% think that this is how the manager tries to achieve better results at work.

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One of the key prerequisites for the toxic behavior of an employer is his individual qualities. For example, in Western studies, aggression is more often manifested by young men, while Russian respondents complain more about female leaders of the older generation.

How does a team working under the beginning of a good leader?

Even the best companies don’t have perfect teams. But there are good ones – those where employees feel that they are important to the firm and business. As a rule, in such places there is low staff turnover, specialists receive salaries in the market, do not recycle for free, and discuss any ideas with the management on equal terms.

News about good bosses is usually spread by word of mouth and helps the business – the brand’s attractiveness grows and people themselves want to work in such a company.

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