News & Blog

Why We Prefer Nasty Bosses to Be Horrible All the Time

Lucy Kellaway (, “Why we prefer nasty bosses to be horrible all the time”) has a great little talk about an interesting finding – apparently, people are less unhappy with a boss who is consistently irritable than one who is unpredictable. Now, you coaches out there, don’t get the idea that we should encourage our clients to be obnoxious all the time if they are obnoxious part of the time. Rather, we want to help them be more consistent in their approach to their employees. And barring that, provide clear information about what they can expect from you today. I know one client who put a sign on her door saying, “Maybe ask me later?” if she was stressed. Keep in mind that being able to predict your environment (e.g., assimilate information, for your cognitive development buffs) is a more comfortable state than feeling like you don’t know what you are walking into. The latter makes it hard to create a mental model of work, which means you are constantly having to process all the information, rather than fit it into your “script.” Feel free to share with friends, colleagues, or your local newspaper – another way in which consulting psychology helps.