The emotional tone of a leader delivering news to an employee made more impact that the news itself.
When negative feedback was delivered with a warm tone, the employees usually rated the interaction positively.
On the other hand, good news, such as achieving a goal, delivered with a negative tone would leave employees feeling bad.
We depend primarily on two hardwired processes for decision making.
Our brains assess what's going on using pattern recognition, and we react to that information - or ignore it - because of emotional tags that are stored in our memories.
Both of these processes are normally reliable; they are part of our evolutionary advantage. But in certain circumstances, both can let us down.
Neurofeedback is used to treat attention deficit disorder and anxiety disorder, but it hasn't been used to try to change leadership qualities directly.
In the case of abusive bosses, Waldman said that would require creating an algorithm that separates the neural patterns of people who are abusive from those who aren't, and then programming that algorithm into the training program.
At least in theory, through neurofeedback, supervisors might have a reduced tendency toward abusiveness.