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Meanmanagementmiserablemood

Howdomeanmanagersactuallyfeel?Dotheyenjoytheirsubordinatesdiscomfortoraretheysecretlysufferingthemselves?Conversely,arenicemanagersrelaxedpeopleoraretheyperhapsnotquitesosatisfied?Scientistsnowhaveanswerstothesequestions.

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ProfessorClaudiaBuengelerfromtheInstituteofBusinessatKielUniversityexplained:Thereareallkindsofstudiesontherelationshipbetweenmanagementbehaviourandhowsubordinatesfeel.Yetthereissignificantlyless,andlesssystematic,knowledgeavailableonhowmanagementstyleaffectsthemanagerthemselves.

InateamconsistingofpsychologistsAntoniaKaluza,DianaBoerandRolfvanDick,theeconomistdugdeeperintothesubjectinameta-analysisthatenablessomekeyconclusionstobedrawn.Thereisaclearconnectionbetweenhowmanagersleadandhowtheyfeel,saidProfessorBuengeler,statingperhapsthemostimportantfinding.

Howcanmanagementbehaviourevenbecategorized?Fromthesubordinatesviewitcanbeseenaseitherconstructiveordestructive,althoughtheworldofsciencedrawsfinerdistinctions.Themostpleasantstyleisrelationshiporiented.Thebossisfocusedoneveryindividualintheteam,actsinafriendlyandopenmanner,oftenexpressesrecognitionandappreciation.Manyemployeesalsocopewellwithtask-orientedmanagerswhodefinecleargoalsandwaystoachievethem.Theyareconstantlyfocusedonthegoalbutplacelessvalueonthehumansideofthings.Change-orientedmanagementbehaviourisinspiring,motivatingandintellectuallystimulating,saidtheeconomistfromKielofanothervariant.Ideally,thisleadstoastrongteamspiritwhilestillpayingattentiontotheindividual.

Destructivemanagementalsomeanslessmanagementsuccess,lesspositivefeedbackandmorenegativeexperiencesintheworkplace,whichcanofcoursetakeitstollonamanager.

ClaudiaBuengeler

However,stronglycharismatic,visionarytypeslikeAppleicon,SteveJobs,orTeslafounder,ElonMusk,canshowdestructivesides,too,bybuildingupenormouspressuretoperform,massivelycriticizingsubordinatesorshowingthemupinpublic.Suchbehaviourformspartofactivelydestructiveleadership,inwhichdamagingbehaviourisrepeatedandexhibiteddeliberately.Thisincludesfrequentcriticismandcondescensionaswellasleadingwithanironfistandnottoleratinganyobjections.Exploitationofsubordinatesandevenotherabusivebehaviourfurthercharacterizethistype.Activelydestructivemanagersareperceivedasaccordinglymeanandmiserablefromtheperspectiveofthosewhoworkbelowthem.Andsuchmanagersoftenfeelmiserablethemselves,explainedBuengeler:Destructivemanagementalsomeanslessmanagementsuccess,lesspositivefeedbackandmorenegativeexperiencesintheworkplace,whichcanofcoursetakeitstollonamanager.

Better,yetstillnegative,ispassiveleadershipbehavioursuchasalaissez-fairestyle.Problemsordecisionsareoftenignored,praiseandcriticismremainvagueorevenunspoken.Althoughthisisfarlesspoisonousfortheworkingatmospherethanthedestructivevariant,thereisstilldiscomfortonbothsidesregardingthedominanceofsuchvagueness.Accordingtotheexpert,Clarityisimportantinleadership.Passivemanagementisnotthesameasnoleadership,asamanagerhasbeenappointed.Ifthismanagerthenfailstofulfiltheirleadershiptasks,thisoftenhasanegativecorrelationwiththewell-beingofsubordinateemployeesaswellasthemanagerthemselves.

Whatexpertshavediscoveredsofarshouldgivethoseresponsiblewithincompaniesandauthoritiespauseforthought.Constructively-orientedmanagementfiguresoftenfeelgoodinthemselves,whereastheoppositeistrueofactivelydestructiveandpassivemanagers.Onetypeenjoysfriendlycommunication,theothergetsmiredinconflictandoftentakesproblemshomewiththem.Plus,destructivemanagersgetstuckinaseeminglyendlesscycleofcriticism,surveillanceandpatronizationtowardemployeeswhohaveallbutthrowninthetowel,showlittlewillingnesstoperformandattheendofthedaygolookingforanotherjob.

IrrespectiveofthefactthathardlyanyonefitssuchleadershipcategoriestoaT,ProfessorBuengelerfeelsthattherecognizableconnectionsaretoosignificanttobeignored.Weoftenassumethatgoodleadershipispurelyinnateorthatitcanbelearnedovernight,shesaid,statingtwocommonmisconceptions.Inheropinion,trainingcoursesonsuccessfulleadershipbehaviourandcontinuousself-reflectionshouldbeascommonplaceasoffersformentalwell-beingparticularlyforbosses.

Author:MartinGeist