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Quartz at Work: Elon Musk Embodies the Quality People Hate Most in a Boss

15 Apr 2022
Workers with unpredictable bosses are more likely to say they’re emotionally drained and unhappy...

Originally found at Quartz at Work, by Sarah Todd

Elon Musk is known for many things: Being bullish on electric cars and colonizing Mars; naming a baby X Æ A-12; doing a decent Wario impression. But reliability is not among the billionaire entrepreneur’s evident traits.

In 2018, for example, Musk announced he had the funding to take Tesla private at $420 a share—a shaky claim that forced him into a $40 million securities fraud settlement with US regulators. Also that year, Musk baselessly accused a diver involved in the rescue of 12 Thai children trapped in a cave of being a pedophile. And just this month, he agreed to join Twitter’s board, quickly backed out, and is now offering to buy the social media network for $54.20 a share, citing his lack of confidence in the current management.

Some Twitter employees are reportedly freaked out at the prospect of Musk buying the company—and understandably so. Research shows that volatility and inconsistency are among the most dreaded traits in a boss. And those are qualities Musk has demonstrated in spades.

The stress of working for a volatile boss
At an internal Twitter meeting this week, employees voiced concerns about Musk’s history of erratic behavior. According to an account in the New York Times, one staffer compared it to a “hostage situation.”

“I don’t believe we are being held hostage,” Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal reportedly replied.

But working for a leader whose behavior is unpredictable can certainly feel that way.

One 2016 study, published in the Academy of Management [Journal], found that people are physiologically less stressed out by a supervisor who’s consistently a jerk than a boss who’s reasonable one day and unfair the next. The study also found that workers with unpredictable bosses are more likely to say they’re emotionally drained and unhappy at their jobs than those with bosses who are consistently awful.

Continue reading the original article at Quartz at Work.

Read the original research in  Academy of Management Journal.

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