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Photo: ThinkStock

Managment idea: Analysing the boss from hell

One of the reasons for the emergence of rude bosses is the culture they are exposed to

The effect of having a “boss from hell" is far-reaching, say researchers Christine Porath, an associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and Christine Pearson, a professor of global leadership at Thunderbird School of Global Management.

In their article titled The Price of Incivility in the Harvard Business Review, through a poll of 800 managers and employees in 17 industries, the authors learnt just how people’s reactions play out when exposed to rude bosses: 48% intentionally decreased their work effort, 66% said that their performance declined, 12% said that they left their job because of the uncivil treatment and 25% admitted to taking their frustration out on customers.

One of the reasons for the emergence of rude bosses is the culture they are exposed to. “25% of managers who admitted to having behaved badly said they were uncivil because their leaders—their own role models—were rude. If employees see that those who have climbed the corporate ladder tolerate or embrace uncivil behaviour, they’re likely to follow suit," say the authors.

One way to keep incivility under check is to reward civility. The authors take the example of Zappos, which implemented a Wow recognition programme. Any employee who sees a colleague doing something special can award a Wow, which includes a cash bonus of up to $50. Recipients are automatically eligible for a Hero award. Heroes are chosen by top executives; they receive a covered parking spot for a month, a $150 Zappos gift card and, with full symbolic flair, a hero’s cape. “Even lighthearted awards like these can be powerful symbols of the importance of civility," say the researchers.

The other way of creating a civil workplace is while hiring—bring in people with higher emotional intelligence.

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