Can we just start out by saying that this seems completely obvious? Researchers at Berkeley and USC (our own personal bullies … *shudder*) just published a study linking “self-perceived incompetence and aggression” in bosses.

Really, it’s just what your mom always told you. Bullies bully because it gives them the all-powerful ego boost (coincidentally, the one boost not available at Jamba Juice). The study’s results speak for themselves: “In [one] test, participants who felt inadequate would request that a subordinate who gave a wrong answer to a test be notified by a loud obnoxious horn, even though they had the option of choosing silence or a quiet sound.”

That kid who stole your lunch money all those years ago? Yeah, probably really insecure. That won’t put the quarters back in your shiny new school jeans, but it should add some perspective.

Also, it’s apparently worse with bosses because they’re power holders and they need to channel their power one way or another. (See: Biff from the first “Back to the Future.”)

So the next time Mr. Lumbergh asks you to “yeah, go ahead and come in this weekend,” think of his self-esteem issues. Those suspenders alone must have equated years of therapy.

Image source: trix0r under Creative Commons
Bosses who feel inadequate can turn into bullies [UC Berkeley News]

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