I’m sure it will give many of you great satisfaction to know that new research has proved that leaders who feel incompetent really do lash out at others to temper their own inferiority.
The research was carried out by psychologists at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles who led a series of experiments to explore this effect.
In one, 90 men and women who had jobs were asked to complete online questionnaires about their aggressive tendencies and perceived competence. The most aggressive of the lot tended to have both high-power jobs and a chip on their shoulder.
In another, the volunteers were asked to select a punishment to be given to university students for wrong answers in a hypothetical test of learning. Volunteers chose between horn sounds that ranged from 10 decibels to a deafening 130 decibels.
The volunteers who felt the most incompetent and empowered picked the loudest punishments – 71 decibels on average. Workers who felt up to their jobs, selected far quieter punishments, between 55 and 62 decibels, as did those primed to feel incompetent yet powerless.
They also found that flattery seemed to temper the aggressive urges of insecure leaders.
So there we have it – your bullying boss is simply an idiot, if you didn’t know that already, and to temper the idiocy, all you have to do is flatter them, if you can pain yourself to do so. Alternatively, a swift kick to the…wait, don’t do that. Flattery is best.
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