If you think that your team is not performing to their best, rather that howling or blaming them, check if they are avoiding good work because of your bossy or Hitler-like attitude.
According to researchers from the University College London and colleagues, when someone gives us an order, we actually feel less responsible for our actions.
“Many good people get convinced to do something bad that they are unwilling to do because they actually feel less responsible for their own actions and painful consequences,” the study noted.
To reach this conclusion, the team sought to answer this question by measuring a phenomenon called “sense of agency”.
They measured “sense of agency” to explore changes in perception when someone delivered a mild electric shock to another person, either on orders or by their own choice.
When the participants chose freely, they were encouraged along with the promise of a small financial gain.
They also knew exactly what kind of harm they were inflicting because pairs of participants traded places with each other.
Coercion led to a small but significant increase in the perceived time interval between action and outcome in comparison to situations in which participants freely chose to inflict the same harms, the study found.
Interestingly, coercion also reduced the neural processing of the outcomes of one’s own action.
The study claims of reduced responsibility under coercion that could indeed correspond to a change in basic feelings of responsibility — not just attempts to avoid social punishment.
“Maybe some basic feeling of responsibility really is reduced when we are coerced into doing something,” said Patrick Haggard from University College London.
People often claim reduced responsibility because they were “only obeying orders”.
“But are they just saying that to avoid punishment or do orders really change the basic experience of responsibility?” Haggard stated in the paper published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.
When you feel a sense of agency — you feel responsible for an outcome — you get changes in experience of time where what you do and the outcome you produce seem closer together.
“Fortunately for society, there have always been some people who stand up to coercion,” Haggard noted.