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Angry bosses may lose subordinates' loyalty

Posted on Apr 04 2014 | IANS

London, April 4 : Is it important for bosses need to display anger from time to time in order to assert themselves? No, says a study.

In a bid to examine the validity of this widely held belief, researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) showed more than 500 test subjects videos or scenarios, in words and pictures, of a leader summarising a bad business year to employees.

The superiors showed either anger, sadness or no emotions.

The way the test subjects saw it, the angry bosses drew their power predominantly from the threat of penalties and by emphasising their status.

They obtained less power by showing their appreciation for others than did the leaders who displayed sadness or emotions.

Angry superiors thus lost out on an interpersonal level. Consequently, the test subjects would be less loyal to the angry managers and would rather attempt to thwart them in their intentions.

"A tough tone of voice equals authority - that's just not true," lead author professor Isabell M. Welpe from Technical University of Munich (TUM).

"The position of power held by leaders who take their anger out on their staff may indeed be acknowledged. But it doesn't earn them lasting loyalty - on the contrary, they risk being betrayed at the next opportunity," he added.

Another study showed that employees were happier with the managers who expressed gratitude to their staff.

The researchers questioned more than 400 test subjects on their own working lives or asked them to evaluate a fictional discussion meeting following successful talks with a customer.

The focus was on whether the managers expressed gratitude to their staff or pride in their own achievements.

What the study found was that saying "thanks" brings many advantages, not only in "real" life but in working life too.

The more the managers expressed their gratitude, the happier employees were, both with their boss and with their job in general.

On the other hand, a leader's pride may boost people's general job satisfaction, but the leaders themselves fell in the team members' estimation - for being too self-centered, the study noted.

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