‘Toxic’ boss may ruin your health, reputation

Feel like bullying your colleagues at workplace or indulge in counterproductive work behaviour? Beware, your toxic boss may be the reason, a study suggests.

According to the study, people who work for bosses who display psychopathic and narcissistic traits not only feel more depressed due to the bullying behaviour of their seniors, but are also more likely to engage themselves in undesirable behaviours at work.

Apart from loss of well-being, such working conditions boosts incidents of counterproductive work behaviour and workplace bullying, which may also ruin employees’ reputations.

“This toxic combination can result in these individuals taking advantage of others, taking credit for their work, being overly critical, and generally behaving aggressively,” said lead researcher Abigail Phillips from the University of Manchester in London.

Bullying is unpleasant not only for those who are targeted, but also creates a toxic working environment, the researchers stated.

Such individuals were also likely to have lower job satisfaction and scored higher on a clinical measure of depression.

“Overall the picture is clear leaders high in dark traits can be bad news for organisations. Those high in psychopathy and narcissism have a strong desire for power and often lack empathy,” Phillips said.

For the study, the team included a total of 1,200 participants who completed questionnaires relating to their own psychological well-being, prevalence of workplace bullying in their organisation and their manager’s personality.

The study was presented at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference of the Division of Occupational Psychology in Liverpool.