Research Says Being Nice to Employees Pays Off

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September 21, 2018—New research from Binghamton University, State University at New York finds that showing compassion to employees almost always pays off, especially when combined with the enforcement of clear goals and benchmarks, reported Insurance Journal.

“Being benevolent is important because it can change the perception your followers have of you,” said Chou-Yu Tsai, an assistant professor 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, according to the report.

More from Insurance Journal:

They surveyed nearly 1,000 members of the Taiwanese military and almost 200 adults working full time in the U.S., and looked at the subordinate performance that resulted from three different leadership styles:

  • Authoritarianism-dominant leadership: Leaders who assert absolute authority and control, focused mostly on completing tasks at all costs with little consideration of the well-being of subordinates
  • Benevolence-dominant leadership: Leaders whose primary concern is the personal or familial well-being of subordinates. These leaders want followers to feel supported and have strong social ties.
  • Classical paternalistic leadership: A leadership style that combines both authoritarianism and benevolence, with a strong focus on both task completion and the well-being of subordinates.

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.

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