Leaders who lose their confidence are more apt to lose their temper

New research shows how feelings of self-worth are tied to workplace behavior.
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Nov 18, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

Power doesn't corrupt people, but the feeling of lack of power might. At least that's what new research from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Southern California suggests.

When feeling unsure about their leadership abilities, study participants in a role-playing exercise were more likely to express aggression toward subordinates, sabotaging the underling's chances of winning money, than participants who reported feeling competent.

In another exercise, participants who reported feeling inadequate chose to notify test takers who gave the wrong answer with a loud, annoying horn over the options of silence or a quiet sound.

The findings, which are published in the November issue of Psychological Science, conclude that bosses who bully do so out of low self-worth. And apparently, there are a lot of bosses out there with less-than-desirable self-esteem. More than one-third of American workers report that their superiors have sabotaged, yelled at, or belittled them.

If you're a boss who bullies, take a look at why and when you lose your cool. Maybe you'd be more even keeled with the head veterinary technician if you brushed up on digital radiography.