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No Research Shows A Connection Between Abusive Leadership And Success

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Listen in as Positive Coaching Alliance goes 1-on-1 in interviews with top pro and college players, coaches, executives, and other major sports figures and academics who provide tips, tools, information and inspiration for youth and high school sports coaches, parents and student-athletes.

This 1-on-1 interview features Ben Tepper, PCA National Advisory Board Member and Chair of the Department of Management and Human Resources at Ohio State University. Tepper earned his PhD (organizational psychology) and MS (organizational psychology) from the University of Miami and his BS (psychology) from Ohio State University. His research interests focus on managerial leadership, employee health and well-being, and the performance of prosocial and antisocial work behaviors.

Jim Thompson (@JimThompson18), PCA Founder, talks to Tepper about his research, why people falsely believe that negative coaching is effective even when there is no data to suggest that abusive leadership improves outcomes, and the identifying precursors of abusive coach behavior. Tepper, who was quoted along with Thompson in Sports Illustrated's article The Last Days of The Abusive Coach, argues that although some abusive coaches are successful, it’s never because they were abusive that they achieved success. In fact, his research indicates that success happens in spite of abusive coaching, and that coaches would be more successful with a different, non-abusive approach.

Other highlights of the podcast include:

  • People mistakenly associate a coach's hostile behavior with the success of that coach, rather than with other attributes such as the coach’s game tactics.

  • Coaches are more likely to be abusive when their identity feels threatened, when their ego is deflated, and when they falsely believe negativity and abuse achieve results.

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