Being Nice to Employees Pays Off
Congratulations to this year’s Best Agencies to Work For! But what makes an employer a good place to work? Competitive salaries, employee benefits, training and education, resources, and other employee perks help. So does being nice to employees.
New research from Binghamton University, State University at New York finds that showing compassion to employees almost always pays off.
“Being benevolent is important because it can change the perception your followers have of you,” said Chou-Yu Tsai, an assistant professor of management at Binghamton University’s School of Management. “If you feel that your leader or boss actually cares about you, you may feel more serious about the work you do for them.”
Tsai and his fellow researchers wanted to determine how both the presence and lack of benevolence affects the job performance of followers.
They surveyed nearly 1,000 members of the Taiwanese military and almost 200 adults working full-time in the United States, and looked at the subordinate performance that resulted from three different leadership styles:
Authoritarianism-dominant leadership: Leaders who assert absolute authority and control.
Benevolence-dominant leadership: Leaders whose primary concern is the personal or familial well-being of subordinates.
Classical paternalistic leadership: A leadership style that combines both authoritarianism and benevolence.
The researchers found that authoritarianism-dominant leadership almost always had negative results on job performance, while benevolence-dominant leadership almost always had a positive impact on job performance. In other words, showing no compassion to your employees doesn’t bode well for their job performance, while showing compassion motivated them to be better workers.
Tsai said his main takeaway for managers is to put just as much or even more of an emphasis on the well-being of your employees as you do on hitting targets and goals. “Make sure you are focusing on their well-being and helping them find the support they need, while also being clear about what your expectations and priorities are.”
The study, “Benevolence-dominant, authoritarianism-dominant and classical paternalistic leadership: Testing their relationships with subordinate performance,” was published in The Leadership Quarterly.
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