If you happen to have the boss from hell, there are two things you need to know. The first is that you’re not alone. In fact, bad bosses seem to be on the rise of late, with more and more leaders being classified as “jerks in the workplace.” The second item of note is the ill effects a bad boss can have on your overall health and well-being.
Bad bosses are not only detrimental for workplace performance, morale and harmony, but they can actually contribute to your driving fears and driving anxiety while making you physically sick.
What Makes a ‘Bad Boss?’
Bad bosses can be defined as those who habitually:
- Humiliate, belittle, oppress or de-energize
- Invade personal space, make uninvited personal contact
- Insult, threaten and intimidate
- Interrupt rudely and consistently
- Tease, make sarcastic jokes
- Give dirty looks
- Treat people as if they are invisible
- Launch two-faced attacks
While anyone can act like a jerk from time to time or when under stress, those who fully qualify for the bad boss title make such behaviors a regular habit.
Bad Bosses by the Numbers
The issue of bad bosses in the workplace has become so widespread, multiple studies have examined the phenomenon. Psychology Today contributor Ray Williams mentions a number of those studies, and some of the most notable stats are outlined below.
- 86 percent: Americans who feel bad boss behavior is left unreported or unnoted before it’s too late and too many people had been affected
- 70 percent: Workers who fear losing their jobs if they speak up against bad bosses
- 70 percent: Americans who believe “bosses and toddlers with too much power act alike”
- 60 percent: Increased likelihood of suffering from a life-threatening cardiac condition if you have a boss who is uncommunicative, secretive, inconsiderate and incompetent
- 40 percent: Deceased likelihood of suffering from heart problems if you have a good boss
- 27 percent: Reduction in sick leave of employees under good leadership
- 46 percent: Reduction in disability pensions of employees under good leadership
- 40 percent: Increased likelihood of employees reporting the highest levels of psychological well-being as well as lower levels of depression and anxiety when working under good leadership
One more observation definitely worth noting comes from a study conducted by a doctor who counseled soldiers in Northern Ireland. She found victims of overseas combat and victims of workplace bullying shared the same symptoms of:
- Extreme anxiety
- Multiple physical ailments
The ongoing stress of dealing with a bad boss can drastically affect both your physical health and mental well-being. It can likewise have an impact on driving fears and driving anxiety, worsening the conditions by adding a constant layer of on-the-job worries and woes.
As the detrimental effects of bad bosses become more well-known, it can only be hoped safeguards are put in place to protect employees forced to work under them or to avoid hiring the bad bosses in the first place.