Destructive Leaders and Workplace Bullying

October 13, 2014 | By | 2 Comments

Workplace bullying is estimated to cost Australian organisations between $6 billion and $36 billion annually, while the average workers’ compensation claim is almost $20,000. These figures should disturb most people, but what’s more alarming is the recent finding that bullying can be committed unintentionally by managers reacting to workplace pressure.

This study, conducted at the Australian School of Business, found that some managers react impulsively and aggressively when dealing with challenging workplace issues, for example, poor employee performance.

Destructive forms of leadership were more common in managers with low attentional capacity and high anxiety or anger. The study found that this toxic combination can lead to poor self-control and leadership derailment in demanding roles. However, the good news is that leaders can avoid such damaging outcomes through training in emotional self-regulation.

The results of this new research will be presented next month at the 4th International Congress on Coaching Psychology and in December at the 28th Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management conference in Sydney. If you would like a preview of this important research and how it can help reduce bullying and harassment then please contact the study author, Michael Collins, via email or on 1300 369 455.

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Comments (2)

  1. Greg Barnier

    Hi Michael,
    I am the Chief HR Officer for a government agency and would like a copy of your research.


    • Michael Collins

      Hi Greg,

      Certainly … if you could respond to my email address ( then I can send you my latest paper which has been conditionally accepted for publication in the Leadership Quarterly next year.



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