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Could a bad boss make you a better leader?

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, June 7, 2019  /  07:07 am
Could a bad boss make you a better leader?

Workers who have been mistreated by their managers may resolve not to repeat the abusive treatment with their own subordinates. (Shutterstock/eenevski)

Some bosses tend to misuse their power and mistreat their employees. Some workers may claim that they would do everything differently and be a better boss when they had the chance. But would they?

A new University of Central Florida study examined how abusive bosses affect their employees’ ability to become a good leader. UFC College of Business professors Shannon Taylor and Robert Folger teamed up with researchers at the University of Texas at El Paso, Suffolk University and Singapore Management University. The results of conducted experiments over several years have been published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Science Daily reported.

"Some employees who are abused by their bosses resolve not to repeat that pattern with their own subordinates and become exceptional leaders of their teams," Taylor said.

Two groups, one comprising workers who had been abused by superiors and the other who had not, were observed in terms of how they treated their own employees. It turned out that prior victims of workplace abuse did learn from their bosses’ mistakes and placed importance on traits like morals and integrity.

The experience of being mistreated apparently shaped the former group to become leaders who treat their subordinates with respect and kindness.

Read also: Bullying bosses may find employees work against them: Study

"Our study sheds light on a silver lining of sorts for people who are subjected to abuse at work. Some managers who experience this abuse can reframe their experience so it doesn't reflect their behavior and actually makes them better leaders."

It doesn’t mean, however, that abusive managers should be hired in order to create kind successors.

On the other hand, workplace abuse will not disappear all too soon, but such solutions as manager training may improve the workplace climate.

Taylor emphasizes the importance of encouraging people who have been abused to say, “Look, I'm not like my boss”.

He went to say that “you can take a stand — not just by reporting the bad behavior but by actively rejecting this abusive leadership style." (sop/mut)

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