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Why having a nice boss could be bad for you

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Those feeling burned out by working life might think a tough boss is to blame – but research has found that an unsupportive manager can actually be good for you.

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File photo: Researchers said workers felt positive when carrying out the activities of looking for support and coming up with a their own plan to solve problems, compared to those helped by supervisors. PICTURE: Supplied

Workers with bosses that helped them through difficult times were more likely to be unhappy than those left to sort out problems themselves, a study found.

While having a supportive line manager was generally found to be positive, it appeared to hinder workers who had become emotionally exhausted.

The research, published in the journal Work and Stress, found workers recovered from burnout faster if they were forced to come up with their own solutions rather than relying on their bosses.

Researchers said workers felt positive when carrying out the activities of looking for support and coming up with a their own plan to solve problems, compared to those helped by supervisors.

Co-author Dr Carlos Ferreira Peralta, of the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Business School, said: "Having a supportive supervisor when you are emotionally exhausted can actually hinder your ability to form an action plan [to recover]."

He added: "Supervisor support appears to be a double-edged sword, on the one hand preventing the emergence of emotional exhaustion but on the other hand diminishing the likelihood that employees will engage in planning to deal with the emotional exhaustion they are experiencing."

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