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There are two types of bad bosses according to Seth M. Spain, a Binghamton University Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior.
One bad-boss type Spain has labeled “dysfunctional,” and the other type he calls “dark.” Spain explores the traits of these bad bosses in “Stress, Well-Being, and the Dark Side of Leadership, a chapter in Research in Occupational Stress and Well-Being.
The character of Michael Scott in the TV sitcom The Office illustrates the dysfunctional boss. Dysfunctional leaders do not intentionally hurt their employees, but these bosses create problems because they’re not very good at what they do. Either personality issues, or a lack of skill renders them inept, making work life difficult for their subordinates.
Dark bosses, exemplified by Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street, purposely hurt others to achieve their goals. They are typically self-absorbed, cunning, and enjoy the pain and suffering of others, so tales of abuse, and harassment follow in their wake.
While all humans have a shadow side that harbors some degree of dark and dysfunctional traits, bad bosses exhibit these traits most of the time, creating tension and anxiety in the people around them. Awareness of this is necessary for addressing and reducing stress in the workplace.
“We believe that these characteristics are extremely important for understanding employee development and career advancement,” said Spain. “Understanding the role that these characteristics play in stress experiences at work is extremely important, especially since bad leaders can cause so much suffering for their subordinates.”
Source: Science Daily
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