Managers who aggressively “demand” excellence from their employees are less likely to produce it than managers who nurture those expectations, The New York Times reports.
While productivity may rise in the short term, researchers say over time the performance of the staff deteriorates, leading to staff turnover. These “bullying” bosses tend to undermine their own teams. Morale and company loyalty plunge, tardiness increases and sick days are more frequent.
Also, there’s no evidence to support the axiom that tougher bosses get better results.
Abusive supervisors come in many flavors, including the insecure, the overmatched and the garden-variety sadist who picks on underlings solely for the pleasure of exercising power. But even mini-tantrums and put-downs can be counterproductive, undermining the efforts of a normally civil person and an otherwise effective boss.
“What our findings suggest is that this kind of behavior is typically not premeditated,” says Dr. Rebecca Greenbaum, a professor in Rutgers University’s school of management and labor relations. “It comes out when people fail to control themselves, and it is worse when supervisors have a bottom-line mentality—that they’ll do anything to achieve their goals.”