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Personality at Work: The Drivers and Derailers of Leadership by Ronald Warren

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CHAPTER 12

The Toll of Hostility

BRUTES, BULLIES, AND JERKS

While it would be reassuring to believe that actively hostile, aggressive behaviors are relatively rare, survey research, in both U.S. organizations and those worldwide, indicates otherwise. Hostility is not only well represented in leadership positions—it runs rampant.

There is a large body of literature on leaders variously described as aggressive, abusive, brutal, bullying, jerks, and narcissists … a list of synonyms that goes on and on. A web search of the term brutal boss yielded 44 million hits. Much of the research focuses on how the behaviors generated by these personalities create toxic work environments. Because leaders set the behavioral norms for a culture, their behaviors ...

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