Work-family conflict could make you abusive
People whose family life regularly interferes with their job are more likely to become emotionally exhausted and, in turn, verbally abusive, says a...
People whose family life regularly interferes with their job are more likely to become emotionally exhausted and, in turn, verbally abusive, says a study.
Having a supportive boss could, however, curtail this harmful spiral.
"It appears that having a supervisor who is aware and supportive of work-family balance may not only reduce the work-family conflict itself but also weaken its downstream effect on verbal aggression," said study co-author Chu-Hsiang Chang of Michigan State University.
For the study, Chang, associate professor of psychology, and colleagues surveyed 125 employees at five information-technology companies four times each week for three consecutive weeks.
"We wanted to see if people who experience work-family conflict are less able to suppress their dark tendencies and more apt to act out on their aggressive impulses," Chang said.
Indeed, when family life interfered with work (such as having to miss an important meeting because of a sick child), participants reported higher emotional exhaustion, which led them to be ruder or verbally abusive towards supervisors, co-workers and family members.
Because supportive supervisors had a positive effect, Chang recommends companies make it a higher priority to select and train managers, who can provide family support for employees.
"Supportive managers should model the right behaviour - in other words, don't send your employees emails at 11 p.m. and expect them to respond, for example," Chang added.
Employees can also engage in emotional and physical recovery activities both at work and at home, such as a lunch break away from the office or stretching exercises for relaxation, Chang said.
The study was published online in the Journal of Applied Psychology.