Many parents made the mistake of giving love and approval to their children only when their children did something that they wanted them to do. A child who has grown up with this kind of conditional love tends to seek for unconditional approval from others all his or her life.
When the child becomes an adult, this need for approval from the parent is transferred to the workplace and onto the boss. The adult employee can then become preoccupied with the opinion of the boss. This preoccupation can lead to an obsession to perform to some undetermined high standard.
Brian Tracy, “Attitude vs. Aptitude”, newsletter