Is Your Boss a Bully? He May Be Incompetent

October 15 2009, 12:45 PM
Offices everywhere are stretched thin. The same amount of work is being undertaken by fewer employees, raises---if existent---aren't what they used to be, and fears of the layoff ax are rampant. It doesn't help that some bosses perpetuate the nightmare by bullying their employees. And the worst offenders, it turns out, are bosses who feel inadequate. According to new research from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Southern California, there is a "direct link" between "self-perceived incompetence and aggression" by supervisors, writes the Denver Business Journal. "Incompetence alone doesn't lead to aggression," says Serena Chen, a UC-Berkeley psychology professor and one of the study's authors. "It's the combination of having a high-power role and fearing that one is not up to the task that causes power holders to lash out." The survey also identified resentment among the minions: 57 percent of workers "believe employers are exploiting the recession to drive longer hours and lower pay from their workforces" (via The Boston Globe). The survey suggests some employees will try to find new jobs as soon as the economic recovery really takes hold. "As the economy rebounds, those workplaces that have not invested in their people could face a mass exodus of employees, potentially crippling the business," says Jesse Harriott, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer at Monster online jobs. For now, workers might want to check out a book, "The Ultimate Guide to Managing Your Boss," a manual for beleaguered workers who face bosses such as the "chronic critic" or the "underminer" who cannot be trusted (via Reuters). Or get beyond the "fear factors" this Great Recession is fostering and ditch those unhealthy jobs, as 5280's Cheap Thrills blogger Jennie Dorris recommends.