11 Leadership Personality Traits Stressing out Employees

July 31, 2017

9:20 am

Individuals dealing with a stressful boss have the potential to exhibit symptoms similar to post traumatic stress, according to researchers.

Unfortunately if you work for others long enough, you’ll come across a bad boss. And while the best way to get away from them is to get another job, sometimes the grass may not be greener on the other side.

To get through the day and manage your mental health, researchers suggest the best way to deal with a stressful boss is to get inside their head and develop your own mentally preparedness.

Researchers at Hogan have uncovered 11 derailing, or dark side, personality traits found in managers and how they are showing up in your daily life. If you think you'll escape them by hiding in the bathroom, you're wrong as 54 percent of managers have at least three of these traits.

In an article by the Harvard Business Review, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic CEO of Hogan offers a breakdown of each type and coping strategies employees can use to deal with each type.


Traits: Intense mood swings, volatility, fits, bullying, harassing

Coping strategies: Descalate, stay calm, wait for the storm to pass


Traits: Inability to trust, cynical, paranoid

Coping strategies: Use data-driven arguments, don’t question or get in their face, they’re not going to trust you.


Traits: Fear of criticism, risk-averse, analysis paralysis, reluctance to embrace opportunities

Coping strategies: Follow process, move slowly and don’t break things if you want to influence them.


Traits: Disinterested in others and their feelings, inability to communicate, hard to read

Coping strategies: Communicate via email rather than face-to-face, respect their privacy and don’t put them on the spot.


Traits: Stubbornness, conflict avoidance, passive aggressiveness, passive resistance, uncooperative

Coping strategies: Don’t push them, don’t assume they agree with you or will help you, even when they seem positive


Traits: Arrogance, entitlement, narcissistic, won’t accept they made a mistake

Coping strategies: Play to their egos, don’t belittle or blame them, particularly in public


Traits: Manipulative charm, reckless risk taking, boredom, impulsivity

Coping strategies: Play politics, gossip and have fun with them but be very careful


Traits: Melodrama, exhibitionism, attention seeking, and lack of focus

Coping strategies: Be a loyal spectator, let them entertain you, don’t compete for the spotlight


Traits: Eccentricity, un-pragmatic originality, unfeasible visions, wacky ideas

Coping strategies: Be enthusiastic about their ideas, focus on the big picture, and be ready to execute or pick up the pieces


Traits: Obsessive, micro-managing, impossible standards, counterproductive perfectionism

Coping strategies: Don’t be careless, pay attention to quality, maintain high standards


Traits: Eagerness to please authority and manage upwards, putting subordinates last

Coping strategies: Be rule-abiding, loyal, and help them please their own bosses

In the mist of figuring out the daily emotional status of your boss, remember to take care of your mental health to cope with others. If you are stressed out and your boss is too, then interactions will be increasingly difficult and cause additional friction in the office.

Chamoro-Premuzic said to make sure and become a valuable resource to your boss. And if your boss sees that everyone is aware of your value “they will be concerned that you may sooner or later leave them.”

Read more advice on how to improve your mental health at TechCo

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Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical and Sport psychology, and has covered many areas of technology ranging from 3D printing and game development to neurotech and funding for over 15 years.