Managers: Avoid a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ Relationship with Employees

Being a great manager is sometimes a challenge, but a new study details exactly what sort of boss you should never be.

Bosses who exhibit a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality are the worst, according to the study from the University of Exeter. Employees find them hard to work with, as they cause the most anxiety.

Perhaps worse, employees are far more ambivalent towards bosses who don’t have a handle on their emotions. University of Exeter’s Dr. Allan Lee:

The focus is usually on trying to work out if relationships between staff and bosses are good or bad, but they can sometimes be both, and it is important to measure that. Bosses reward and punish their workers, and this has an impact on self-esteem. If their staff have to adopt different roles at different times because they have a manager who can be both nasty and nice they view him or her in an ambivalent way.

It is very negative for an employee to be ambivalent about their boss. Having a clear attitude towards them is much better for their performance. If your boss is both pleasant and unpleasant to be around it is hard to know what they think about you, and if you can’t predict how they will act. This makes it hard to trust them. This creates negative emotions and makes staff feel anxious, causing poor performance at work.

We’ve detailed some best practices for employees and managers in the past, especially when it comes to things like engagement. It all boils down to a good working relationship, something made difficult when managers aren’t on an even keel.

Results are what matters, and a separate study shows us that happy employees are more productive. Professor Andrew Oswald, Dr. Eugenio Proto and Dr. Daniel Sgroi from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick discovered that when people are happy coming into work, they’re up to 12 percent more productive. As Dr. Sgroi notes: “The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.”

Dr Proto adds: “This research will provide some guidance for management in all kinds of organizations, they should strive to make their workplaces emotionally healthy for their workforce.”