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Why do managers yell at their subordinates

Today the boss is courteous, polite and seems to be happy with everything, and tomorrow he shakes the walls with angry tirades. Scientists have explained why the chief’s office may resemble a minefield.

Managers who want to behave ethically towards their subordinates often become hostages of moral licensing-a phenomenon in which a person who has been strictly observing rules and regulations for some time decides that he has been “good” enough and can afford to break these rules. How this mechanism starts and works, researchers from the University of Michigan (USA) explained in an article published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

As part of the study, psychologists observed 172 managers working in areas such as retail, education, industrial production, and health care for several days. Scientists have concluded that the most affected bosses (and, as a result, employees of the departments entrusted to them) who try to honestly observe moral norms and rules in dealing with subordinates.

Such bosses often suppress their own interests and force themselves to act “correctly” rather than”profitably”. They try to track both the actions of subordinates and their state. As a result, managers experience ego depletion, which severely limits their ability to control themselves and increases the likelihood of aggressive behavior.

It is the exhaustion of the ego-which, according to psychologists, is easily avoided if you take breaks during the day-that leads to moral licensing, which is much more difficult to deal with. A leader who demonstrates “exemplary” behavior in this way feeds a sense of self-esteem and earns moral credit, as a result of which he allows himself to violate existing rules and regulations.

Under the influence of moral licensing, bosses snapped at subordinates, mocked them, recalled past mistakes, talked to subordinates in high tones, or, conversely, treated them with silence.

From this, psychologists concluded that companies need to review strict requirements for the behavior of managers, as well as encourage “ethical” bosses, praising them or awarding them. But this should be done quickly, until it “jerked”.

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