Anyone who’s ever had an asshole boss can tell you what a debilitating effect they can have on your psyche. There’s a unique sense of dread and powerlessness that comes from having to walk into an office every day and knowing you’re going to be belittled by your workplace overlord.
The only saving grace? A new study reveals that your boss’s emotionally abusive behavior has a negative psychological effect on him or her, as well. Specifically, when bosses abuse their underlings, they report feeling less respected, competent and autonomous in the office, and have more trouble relaxing after work, according to a new study published in the Academy of Management Journal.
The findings suggest a sort of reversal of the notion of paying it forward: Shitty bosses experience a lingering sense of guilt after they leave the office, and that no one walks away feeling good when people mistreat each other.
Bosses who lead by forming close, positive relationships with their employees, on the other hand — and who promote a harmonious workplace — may be less susceptible to after-work stress, the study suggests. Which will inevitably lead to happier employees.
So the next time your dickhead boss openly browbeats someone in the office, hold them close and repeatedly whisper, “It’s not your fault,” in their ear until they break down and sob in your arms. Your colleagues will thank you for it, as will your boss.