Are You a Difficult Boss?

Last Updated Oct 10, 2007 3:40 PM EDT

no-abuse.jpgThis probably doesn't apply to you -- you're not a difficult boss, right? You may, however, supervise some employees who make it challenging to be patient and understanding. And your reactions to their behavior could be translated as "abuse."

Researchers at Florida State University surveyed over 180 employees from a variety of different professions, asking how reporting to a difficult boss affected their work performance. According to the findings, employees who work for "abusive" bosses are far less productive than their not-abused counterparts:

  • Slowing down and purposely making errors: 30 percent of the workers who reported abuse, 6 percent of those who didn't
  • Purposely hiding from their bosses: 27 percent of the workers who reported abuse; 4 percent of those who didn't
  • Putting in less than maximum effort: 33 percent of the workers who reported abuse; 9 percent of those who didn't
  • Taking sick time when not ill: 29 percent of the workers who reported abuse; 4 percent of those who didn't
  • Taking more or longer breaks: 25 percent of the workers who reported abuse; 7 percent of those who didn't
Researcher Wayne Hochwarter noted that employee-employer relations are at one of the lowest points in history. Clearly, there are some cases when managers are hard to work for, and in other situations, incompetent workers challenge managers at every turn. Whatever the case may be, no company can afford to let strained working relationships decrease productivity.

Interestingly, the study showed that employees who didn't report abuse were three times more likely to proactively fix problems -- meaning the people who feel mistreated are waiting for you to fix it.

Related reading:

Study Reveals 10 Most Terrible Office Behaviors
(No Abuse image by exfordy)