We are all familiar with leaders who rule with an iron fist: those iconic CEOs with temperaments resembling a thunderstorm. Think of the stereotypical magnate, and the Donald Trumps of the world.
The truth, however, for those of us that have worked for this kind of boss before is that working in an environment with this kind of leader can be far more stressful than productive.
We all know that high levels of stress can induce a host of different physiological and psychological problems, many stemming from work related incidents where your boss made you feel inadequate and demoralized. Things like walking away from a conversation because they have lost interest, answering calls in the middle of meetings, or mimicking people, can make going to work an an uncomfortable- and sometimes miserable experience.
Here are 5 reasons why nice leaders manage more productive teams:
1. They See You As a Person, Not an Employee
In life, and therefore in work, we all want to feel acknowledged, respected, and noticed. When your boss acknowledges the person you are you automatically feel validated. In doing so, they have taken an interest in you and therefore paved the way for developing a relationship of respect and understanding. Through personal behavior your manager has inspired and motivated you to work at your optimum level and in so doing has strengthened your workplace productivity.
Amy Cuddy and her research partners at Harvard Business school have found that managers who display warmth and interest towards their employees are more effective because they are developing a relationship of trust. Employees are more trusting of someone who is kind.
2. They Foster a Team Environment
An effective leader treats your opinions and ideas with respect, regardless of your workplace ‘status’ or the time you’ve spent at the company. They foster a positive environment where people have productive attitudes and a willingness to always work harder. Ran Avrahamy, Head of Marketing at Appsflyer provided an example of this when he said, “I’ve insisted in having our entire growing marketing team sit in the same room. No personal offices or anything. It might be noisy at times, especially since we’re all a little A.D.D, but by maintaining some general guidelines, the team’s productivity is exploding, and each team member gets the chance of expressing himself.”
In an interesting study on this subject, an experimenter ridiculed a group of participants who were expected to complete an anagram word puzzle. Following the ridicule they performed 33 percent worse on the puzzles than before and came up with 39 percent fewer creative ideas during a brainstorming task.
In the second part of the study, a ‘busy professor’ was rude to the participants, claiming they were bothering her. Their performance was 61 percent worse on the anagram puzzles, and they produced 58 percent fewer ideas in the creative task than those who had not been treated rudely.
3. They Know How To Motivate a Team
A balanced and inspiring leader understands that longer hours don’t always result in efficiency and that a simple “thank you” for work that has been done can go a very long way. They give credit where credit is due and acknowledge everyone for their efforts. With this kind of leader, whether you’re the head of the sales team or you make the coffee, your contribution is appreciated.The effectiveness of this approach was demonstrated by New York University’s Jonathan Haidt who found that when leaders are helpful and approachable, their employees are more motivated and inspired.
4. They Embrace New Ideas and Innovation
Original leaders encourage initiative and therefore promote and develop new ideas. By embracing dynamic thoughts in their field, businesses spearheaded by these kinds of leaders, are often at the forefront of their industries.
Original and inventive businesses are extremely attractive to potential employees, and therefore they are constantly growing and developing with new and excited staff coming on board. For example, in a survey of millennials by Deloitte, 78% consider the company’s innovation when deciding if they want to work there.
“I acknowledge my employees’ strengths by giving them the independence to do what they do best. They are well-aware of the fact that I hired them specifically because I believe in their abilities to do their job even better than I could. As a result, I present the employees with our vision, and give them the freedom to achieve it through whatever means best suits them. This strategy empowers them, strengthens their problem solving skills, and allows them to take ownership of their positions. Best of all, the final product that comes out as a result never ceases to amaze me.”
5. They Lead by Example
Strong and effective leadership does not have to involve the kind of hard personalities and demanding expectations associated with old-school tycoons and business magnates.
Managers who lead by example generally foster an environment of commitment and loyalty resulting in unity and and collaboration. These kinds of bosses also don’t mind working just as hard as their employees do- and they always practice what they preach.
Is your boss nice or tough? Are you a friendly boss? We would love to hear about it in the comments.