The Making Of An Office Jerk

We've talked with Sue Shellenbarger, of the Wall Street Journal, on the show. She writes about work and family for the paper, and today tackles the issue of what drives bad bosses. As you can imagine, it's quickly climbing the "most emailed" stories list at WSJ.com.

First, the various types:

Sylvia LaFair, a White Haven, Pa., leadership coach and psychologist has identified 13 different patterns of office behavior-and the family dynamics that likely shaped them. Among the types are the "persecutor" who micromanages or abuses others. This person often grew up with abuse or neglect. The "denier" pretends problems don't exist; this person may have grown up in a family where everyone feared facing unpleasant emotions. "Avoiders" are aware of problems but won't talk about them. In a tense situation, their mantra is, "Gotta go!" "Avoiders" often grew up in judgmental families with weak emotional ties, Dr. LaFair says.

Then, the solution:

there are ground rules for raising the issue, Dr. LaFair says: Make truthful observations in short, simple sentences, without blaming or attacking the other person. Wait for it to sink in and listen carefully to the response. Ask questions. This can help your co-worker become conscious of how his or her bad behavior is affecting others-the first step toward change.

The full article, titled "How Dad's Yelling Can Spawn an Office Tyrant" is worth the read for anyone who's worked for — or with — a difficult personality.

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