Why one study says fighting back against your hostile boss could actually be a good thing
When it comes to dealing with a bad boss, you may not want to just grin and bear it, says a new study published in the journal Personnel Psychology.
Researchers found that employees who had hostile supervisors—defined as those who yell, ridicule, and intimidate their workers—actually experienced less psychological distress, more job satisfaction, and more commitment to their employer when they fought back against their jerky bosses than employees who didn't retaliate. (Check out 11 Sticky Work Situations, Solved!)
In this case, retaliation was defined by “ignoring their boss, acting like they didn't know what their bosses were talking about, and giving just half-hearted effort,” the press release explains.
If you’re shocked by these findings, you're not alone. "Before we did this study, I thought there would be no upside to employees who retaliated against their bosses, but that's not what we found," said Bennett Tepper, lead author of the study and professor of management and human resources at The Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business.
Big disclaimer: This is not permission to go all Horrible Bosses in your office. The takeaway isn’t that employees should automatically retaliate against their hostile boss with these passive-aggressive behaviors, Tepper said in the press release. “The real answer is to get rid of hostile bosses,” he said. (Here, The Best Advice from Female Bosses.)
While most of us can't snap our fingers and get rid of our less-than-ideal bosses, there are ways you can you boost your morale and improve your relationship with your boss. Start with these 10 Ways to be Happier at Work Without Changing Jobs.