The impact of a negative boss is far-reaching!


If you’re like most people, at some point during your working life, you’ve had the experience of a bad boss.  You know…the critical, narrow-minded, uncommunicative type that has somehow managed to end up as your manager!  Surely the negative boss can become a daily thorn in your side.  Yet the influence of negative leaders goes beyond those of us who directly have to deal with them….their negative emotions can strongly impact a company’s bottom line results.

For instance, teams led by negative bosses are often less productive.  Why? Because we (who work for the boss) end up making poorer decisions, choosing less effective strategies in our panic to please our bosses.  In contrast, when we feel a sense of security and trust, it makes it easier for us to handle tough feedback, to solve problems creatively, to take smart risks, and to persist through obstacles without giving up.  Positive emotions indeed increase resilience and perseverance in the face of setbacks, ultimately enhancing the odds of a successful outcome.  In fact, employees are more likely to view an adversity as a challenge in a positive work atmosphere.  In fact, the amount of positive emotions conveyed by a manager can actually predict the performance of his or her entire group.  Positive expressions from leadership indeed filter down, greatly enhancing the prospects for a flourishing organization.

So, the boss sets the tone for the team, the department and even the company.  In the workplace, a positive environment clearly influences the satisfaction and happiness of employees.   Within an organization, expressions of positive emotion are like pebbles thrown into a pond…small acts create ripples that can have profound influences in the big scheme of things.  For example, when workers observe compassion, experience mentoring, or witness forgiveness, they take more pride in their organization and experience more enjoyment and satisfaction in their work. Salespeople who feel more positive emotions at work also prove to be more helpful to their customers.

The bottom line is this: positive emotions are contagious within an organization. Small displays of positive emotion end up creating upward spirals that can generatively transform an organization.

Food for thought.