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Brutal bosses good for work

A study says that boss who is rough, loud and scares the hell out of you stands the greatest chance of being successful.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2006 13:15 IST

Who is the real winner — a boss who is sensitive to your needs, guides you, assesses your strengths and figures out how to leverage them, or the one who is rough, loud and in your face, stages tantrums and intimidates the hell out of you?

You may not agree with him, but Roderick Kramer, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, says the latter stands the greatest chance of being successful.

In a controversial article — The Great Intimidators — published in the Harvard Business Review, Kramer maintains that bosses that scream at staff and set impossible standards are especially valuable in organisations or industries that are “rigid or unruly, stagnant or drifting”, says The Daily Mail. Their abrasive style may be just what’s needed to shake things up and set a new direction, he says.

Kramer says the great intimidators are not typical bullies, but are driven by vision rather than by sheer ego or malice. These leaders possess “political intelligence”, which can make the difference between paralysis and successful organizational change.

They exploit people’s weaknesses and insecurities using intimidation and there are few things that they will not do to be the best, he says.

One of the top tactics such bosses employ is to be angry and let everybody know that, says Kramer. "A bad temper is a powerful tool because most people don't like confrontation," he says.

But great intimidators can get into real trouble when they become too tough, says Kramer. They do this by bending others to their will, winning arguments they should lose and surrounding themselves with sycophants.

Manage your boss Kramer’s tips for you: ¦ Do your homework ¦ Work hard ¦ Laugh at his antics ¦ Keep your perspective ¦ Call his bluff ¦ Keep your cool

First Published: Mar 16, 2006 13:15 IST