“It really is about both parents, but because mothers are typically the primary caregivers of the children, they usually have more influence on their children,” said Peter Harms from University of Alabama in the US. Researchers studied manager-employee relationships in the workplace and found a link between parenting styles and workplace behaviour.
Their research was based on the work of John Bowlby , an early psychoanalyst, who argued that the way parents treat their offspring could have long-term implications for how their children approach relationships.
In particular, the work focused on how parents acted when their infants cried out for help.
Babies learn over time that they can either count on their parent to come to their rescue right away or they need to escalate to high levels of distress in order to get attention. Or, if babies learn that parents are not a reliable source of comfort, they stop making overt appeals for help. Individuals with reliable parents view others as potential sources of support.
These people are often categorised as having anxious or avoidant attachment depending on the style they adopted to cope with distress.
“Your boss is sort of like your parent,” said Harms. The findings showed that when anxious followers were paired with supportive leaders, they were perfectly fine. But when they were paired with distant, unsupportive leaders, the anxiously attached employees reported higher levels of stress and lower levels of performance.