People who work for bosses who display psychopathic and narcissistic traits not only feel more depressed, but are also more likely to engage in undesirable behaviors at work, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Manchester’s Business School conducted three studies, with a total of 1,200 participants who completed questionnaires related to their own psychological wellbeing, prevalence of workplace bullying, and their manager’s personality. Participants were workers from a variety of industries across a number of different countries, according to the researchers.

An analysis of the data showed that those who work for toxic bosses had lower job satisfaction and scored higher on a clinical measure of depression.

The researchers also found that not only did employees’ wellbeing suffer, but incidents of counterproductive work behavior and workplace bullying were higher.

“Overall the picture is clear leaders high in dark traits can be bad news for organizations,” said lead researcher Abigail Phillips, “Those high in psychopathy and narcissism have a strong desire for power and often lack empathy. This toxic combination can result in these individuals taking advantage of others, taking credit for their work, being overly critical, and generally behaving aggressively. In other words, leaders high in psychopathy and narcissism are more likely to be bullies.”

“Workplace bullying is obviously unpleasant for the target, but also creates a toxic working environment for all involved,” she continued. “In short, bad bosses, those high in psychopathy and narcissism, have unhappy and dissatisfied employees who seek to ‘get their own back’ on the company.”

The study was presented at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference of the Division of Occupational Psychology.

Source: British Psychological Society