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4 reasons people still follow toxic bosses, psychologist says: ‘We’re keeping them in power’

By | Annika Kim Constantino | www.cnbc.com

If toxic bosses are so terrible, why do people still follow them?

It has a lot to do with the way your mind works, says Ronald Riggio, a professor of leadership and organizational psychology at Claremont McKenna College.

Riggio has spent almost three decades researching and teaching the topic, while serving as a consultant to dozens of organizations. He says many bad bosses are unfit to lead because they are often narcissistic, don’t genuinely care for their employees and would do anything to get the best results — even at the expense of others or basic morals.

Yet many of those managers have admirers and hold positions of power, from the business realm to politics, Riggio says. Take world leaders as an example: 57 countries are currently led by dictators who Riggio describes as unethical, unstable or incompetent.

People can’t always know they’ll have a toxic boss when interviewing for jobs, but once they’re in the door, they can stay devoted to those bad managers for months or even years — largely because either they have the wrong idea about what good leadership looks like or because they’re trying to reap personal benefits from the relationship, Riggio says.

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