The 9-to-5 story we tell ourselves about our work lives is unrealistic. Sure, we may physically check out at 5 p.m., but the mental and emotional toll our day jobs have on us linger.

And our marriages are worse for it.

Recent research shows that an authoritarian leadership style at work is detrimental for spousal family satisfaction. 

In other words, "bossy" bosses ruin marriages.

If you're a leader and you're unsure of how your leadership style may be translating to your employees' personal lives, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Am I micromanaging?

  2. Am I creating a blame-oriented work culture?

  3. Am I unrealistically standardizing behavior?

Answering yes to any of the above doesn't mean you're a bad boss. But it does mean you ought to revisit your strategies. Your employees will thank you, and so will their partners. Here's why.

Micromanagement versus trust

You don't need to approve everything. You don't need to be cc'd on every email. It's OK that somebody took a long lunch one day, you don't need to always know where your employees are.

Feeling like there is someone constantly looking over our shoulders kills our creativity, makes us utterly dependent on constant feedback, and steals our sense of control and agency over our lives. And when we feel out of control in one area of our life, we try to overcompensate for it in other areas. 

Ever feel so stressed at work that you become less cooperative and empathetic with your spouse's concerns, in a desperate effort to exercise your independence? Now you know why.

Blame oriented versus solution oriented

When somebody makes a mistake at work, do you focus on the mistake or on how to fix it?

The former, being blame oriented, nurtures a lack of confidence; a lack of confidence by your employees in themselves and a lack of confidence in the goal you are collectively seeking. 

As with micromanagement, feeling unempowered at work manifests itself at home. Low self-esteem means your employees are less likely to voice their relationship needs, more likely to feel jealous and insecure, and less likely to be certain of what they really bring to the table in their relationships. Give it time and you have a recipe for disaster.

The latter, being solution oriented, does the opposite. 

Standardization versus unique flourishing

Humans (and therefore employees) have a psychological need for uniqueness.

This means that leadership styles which view every employee as a uniform cog in a machine are bound to create an unsatisfying (and unproductive) work culture; and by extension, romantic relationships.

What can you do about it? Assign different tasks to different people. Provide flexibility in deadlines where possible. Figure out which employees require frequent check-ins, and which prefer to work more independently. 

The result? Engaged and confident employees who feel seen, heard, and respected in the workplace, an attitude ready to be shared at home.