The Boomerang Effect of Hatred

I read a post on “How to make your Employees Hate You Less” by Namita Sinha. The post attracted not only wide discussions but also reminded me of the Boomerang Effect.

In simple words, The Boomerang Effect produces adverse results to the desired ones. This can happen when we try to shake long-standing beliefs and fight them.

This effect can influence negatively persuasions that are forceful or marketing campaigns that limit the choices of consumers.

To disrupt the firm beliefs of people means shaking them and indirectly telling them they were not wise to hold such beliefs. Wikipedia describes this effect as “the boomerang effect is a situation where people tend to pick the opposite of what something or someone is saying or doing because of how it is presented to them”.

People tend to reject forceful persuasion. Worse. If a leader or manager uses aggressive methods to make the employees conform the employees shall hate him. Hatred toward the manager builds up.

I relate hatred to the dryness of hearts coupled with a repulsive character. Hatred will only lead to an intensified Boomerang Effect. The more the leaders try to force the employees, the more they shall hate him and the more adverse effect the leader shall get. Namita noted that “as we had, reflected recently.., – this is so much about separatism, repulsion and not an all-inclusive”.

People like to have at least a few choices. If they hate a leader they have one option- to show even spiraling rejection of what he asks them to do. A Spiraling Boomerang Effect results.

No matter what the causes of hatred towards a leader are, excessive desire to control and force his opinions on employees stands out among them.

In a toxic environment filled with hatred for a leader, creativity dies. Employees disengage or leave. Productivity drops. Quality suffers. Earning drop. A Boomerang Effect Initiates and builds up rapidly. Trying to improve customer relationship ends in its deterioration. Same with increasing quality of products or services as they too go down.

The cost of hatred spreads and ripples through the whole organization.

A great leader shall not lose empathy or try to lead by control. On the contrary, he shall soften his grip, give choices and listen more carefully. Persuade gently, communicate softly and walk the talk.


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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  1. Brother Ali
    I do not imagine that many leaders intend to be hated (Well, OK, maybe a few psychopaths get off on being hated).

    Sometimes a leader’s passion, which became obsession with what they are trying to do, melds with something that started out as confidence and changed to ego and hubris. Sometimes this obsession-hubris combines with what began as earned respect but became an expectation of deference, and is multiplied in the reduced feedback environment where the leader exists.

    Now the leader’s empathy is overwhelmed, a very small voice inside a whirlwind of “I am right; why can’t they see/” shouts in his/her mind. “I must sell harder to overcome objections; I must push harder to overcome resistance.”

    Then people, followers – react, respond, “You never listen to me; I hate you!”

    Anyone who remembers being a teenager or who has parented teenagers will recognize the “”Boomerang Effect, that is adolescent counter-dependence. (Some of us never grow out of it.)

    The response to hate is never . . . more hate. It is also never “But I love you!” That only produces a “Yeah, Right!” eye-rolling response or loud door slam.

    The only response to “I hate you!” is “I know. Please tell me why.”

    The only response to “I don’t believe that!” is not to argue at the level of opposing beliefs. :Do NOT!” “Do SO!”
    But to climb back down the ladder of inference from belief, past conclusions, to the data that the belief is based upon. Along the journey down the ladder the very cognitive dissonance that leads to the opposite reaction of the Boomerang Effect causes one to say “Wait a minute . . . Why DO I believe that?”

    Of course, that must be done voluntarily, and mutually, with empathy on both sides. It is hard work.

    But worth the time.

    Thank you, for the journey.


    • Brother Alan.

      Your comment is a treasure.
      I agree with you that leaders do not plan to be hated. However, they must see the signals and early indicators. Disengagement, dragging feet at work, increasing turn-over rate are some of the early indicators.

      I agree with your entire comment. It is realistic and describes what happens. When a leader needs to shout more then there is a problem. When the self-talk becomes these employees do not listen then there is a seed of problem appearing that may germinate into hatred.

      I smiles a lot reading “But to climb back down the ladder of inference from belief, past conclusions, to the data that the belief is based upon.”
      Like in English you say clean the stairs from the top first I say clean the organization from the top first.

  2. Your article proposes various considerations that deserve as many answers. I will try to contribute by limiting myself to the question of the leader hated by his collaborators.
    Being a good leader also means being appreciated and respected by your collaborators. Without this condition it is very easy to transform from leader to boss or tyrant. To exercise one’s role of guidance and coordination, one cannot exempt oneself from having developed, through careful work on oneself, specific human skills that have to do with empathy, listening, hospitality, acceptance of diversity and much more.
    When it comes to authority and control in organizational life and conflicts between the leader and the collaborators in companies, it must be considered that often it is not just a question of differences due to communication or management styles, or more simply to decision-making disagreements. At the root of such conflicts there are often latent psychological problems such as, for example, an incorrect management of anxiety and a lack of empathy.
    In particular, I believe that when faced with a conflict that arises from “problems of authority” or “control”, the capacity for empathy can help, well understood in its true meaning: empathy does not necessarily imply approval the other person’s perspective or feelings. We must not agree or think that the emotions that the other person feels are “anyway” justified. It means understanding, imagining these perspectives and emotions, even without sharing them. In short, being able to empathize does not mean sympathize!
    Being a leader is a constant commitment that will pay off not only in professional terms, restoring the authority that no organization chart can assign, but also more simply by letting us discover a kaleidoscope of emotions and enriching bonds that will free our talents and those of the team.

    • This is a powerful comment Aldo, .

      I am drafting a post for @BIZCATALYST on telling your own story. Your comment here has so much shred with what I have in mind.

      “At the root of such conflicts there are often latent psychological problems such as, for example, an incorrect management of anxiety and a lack of empathy.”.

      Everyone of his has his story and we might not like the story of otters for different reasons. What is common among all of them is lack of empathy and compassion.

      You are so right my friend. When we lack empathy we lack understanding. This may lead to hatred.