Tag Archives: Interaction

Abusive Leadership?

Abuse me?


Why did I cough up $125.00 for The Bass Handbook of Leadership?

My graduate professors insisted the book was the last word… now I have a 10-pound, 1,500-page book that may be incomplete.

People talk about leadership every day. They throw the word out there and accept it from others as if we were really communicating an exact meaning. But there are literally thousands of definitions of leadership.

Is leadership a personality trait or a behavior, an attribution, the foci of a group process, a symbol, a maker of meaning, a thought, a purposeful or persuasive action, the initiation of structure, the exercise of influence or a discretionary influence? Are leaders born or made?

A new study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology examines a little discussed negative aspect of the oh-so-admired-and-researched topic – Abusive Leadership.

The study examined the impacts of verbal abuse and demeaning emails of team leaders in leader-follower dyads (YES, I actually used the word DYAD, I paid a lot of money for grad school and learned several words I can’t seem use anywhere but Scrabble).

Basically, they studied what happens when a bad boss is mean to a subordinate and how the behavior impacts the broader team.

The study was conducted in China and the findings were replicated in the USA.


  1. As you might have guessed, abused employees felt demoralized and undervalued and their productivity decreased,
  2. Surprisingly, cases of abuse correlated with higher levels of team conflict and lower productivity across the team unit.


Traditional interventions into workplace abuse generally focused on the affected parties (the abuser and the abused). This study suggests that we may want to address the impacts of the abuse across the entire team unit.

Luckily, none of us has ever had to work for one of THOSE leaders.

Fortune Cookie Bottom-Line:

When your bad boss is a bully and zaps all of your steam, remember this study and turn to your team.

Source: Crystal I. C. Farh, Zhijun Chen. Beyond the Individual Victim: Multilevel Consequences of Abusive Supervision in Teams. Journal of Applied Psychology, 2014; DOI: 10.1037/a0037636

Schmoozing, Boozing & Teetotaling!

The holiday party season is in full gear and that means lots of opportunities to meet new people, have some fun and expand your network. For those of us that revel in the reveling, it’s time to get out your ‘formal lampshade’, which, unlike those ‘skinny jeans you still have in your closet, should still fit nicely.

Shuttering at the thought of another room full of strangers or letting down your hair with your co-workers?

You are not alone!

Few people are born with the power to ‘schmooze’. When faced with the discomfort of interpersonal interaction, some of us rely on a little ‘social lubricant’ to get our people skills primed – a little “liquid courage” to amp our networking fortitude.

But what does the teetotaler do during this festival of festivities?

A new study by North Carolina State University explored mechanisms non-drinkers employ during liver-punishing social situations. For example:

  1. Tell people you are on a diet (kinda bah ‘humbug but it may work!)
  2. Suggest that you are not drinking because you’re taking antibiotics (it may not enhance your reputation but few will inquire further!)
  3. Simply carry a drink around all night without taking a single sip (if you are noticed… remember plants like a drink every now and again too!)
  4. Become the life of the party by getting everyone else blasted. Buy the whole group a round of shots (…repeat as necessary!)

Satire aside, there is absolutely nothing wrong with abstinence. In fact, the morning after a bender the vast majority of drinkers wish they’d steered clear. But the study begins to shed a light on the challenges that organizational leaders and individuals face when it comes the etiquette of social gatherings and liquid libations. At work our cultural norms largely guide our interactions and determine what’s ‘socially acceptable’. After hours off-site, the lines blur.

For now, let’s file it in the stack of organizational behavior issues. When it comes to people, products and processes; people are by far the hardest code to crack.

Fortune Cookie Bottom-line:

One need not drink to make a link but those that do may make two — they just won’t remember who!

If you have other practical ways to abstain this holiday season, write me and I’ll share them with our readers…

Source: http://www.newswise.com/articles/unhappy-hour-non-drinkers-devise-strategies-to-navigate-booze-centered-work-events