Monthly Article Archives: January 2009

The Impact of Bad Bosses: A Major Health IssueRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

The following account is based on a true story, as they say in Hollywood. In consideration of issues of confidentiality some details have been changed, including the names of the participants. However, the facts most pertinent to the theme of this article reflect the situation that actually occurred. Years ago a CEO of a corporation asked me to provide a consultation. He was concerned about one department in which the absentee and resignation rates among employees were higher than those for other departments. In exit interviews conducted by Human Resources, employees gave as their primary reason for leaving the angry, abrasive behavior of the department head, John Westwood. When asked why they had not reported Westwood’s behavior to Human Resources before making their decision to resign, a majority voiced the belief that little, if any, action would be taken to remedy the situation and that they would be vulnerable to retribution. The head of Human Resources, Sarah Lincoln, spoke with Westwood about the feedback she was receiving about him. In response, he offered several explanations, all of which directed blame back to his staff. He described most of them as basically lazy, requiring him to raise his voice and be

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