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Bosses Have Big Impact on Workplace Well-Being

MONDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- If you're unhappy at work, it may be because your psychological needs aren't being met by your manager or company, a new study suggests.

Over-controlling bosses who use threats to motivate workers and companies that don't seem to value employees' contributions frustrate people's basic needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness (how you relate to others), according to the researchers led by Dr. Nicolas Gillet at the Universite Franois Rabelais in Tours, France.

This, in turn, can harm your well-being at work. And the way you feel at work can account for more than a quarter of the differences in work performance between individuals, the study authors said in a journal news release.

They added that the potential economic impact of workplace well-being means that the topic is receiving increasing attention.

For their study, the researchers had 1,118 workers at small, medium and large companies complete questionnaires asking them what they thought about their supervisors' management style and how much support they felt they received from their companies.

The more the workers felt their superior supported their autonomy, the more their needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness were met, and the happier and more satisfied they were. The same was true when workers felt they had the support of their company.

Employees who said their supervisors were coercive, pressuring and authoritarian, or believed their companies were non-supportive, felt their needs weren't being met and had lower levels of well-being.

The study was recently published online in the Journal of Business and Psychology.

"Our study shows that both organizational and managerial factors have an influence on satisfying or frustrating the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and how we relate to others," the researchers said.

They concluded that "to satisfy employees' needs, supervisors should provide subordinates with options rather than use threats and deadlines, a strategy which could improve their workforce's well-being."

More information

The American Psychological Association offers tips for managing your boss.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Journal of Business and Psychology, news release, Jan. 18, 2012

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