The key to making employees happier

A movie scene that wants to make it abundantly clear who’s in charge typically has the boss in a suit, sitting behind a big desk in a spacious office, while all the workers hunker down in undersized cubicles. Because that’s what bosses, do. They separate themselves from the masses and get special privileges. If some dirty job needs doing, don’t ask the boss!

Well, turns out, if you want to be a boss with a productive workforce, that’s exactly the wrong path to take. A new paper, Boss Competence and Worker Well-being by Benjamin Artz, Amanda H. Goodall and Andrew J. Oswald, found the secret to worker productivity, and it seems like it should have been obvious all along.

The strongest indicator of worker well-being? The boss’s competence. The researchers asked survey participants “Could your supervisor do your job if you were away?” and “Does the supervisor know their own job well?”

To keep reading, click here: The key to making employees happier

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3 thoughts on “The key to making employees happier

  1. My worst job ever was working for a boss who could do absolutely NONE of my tasks. I was an engineer with real software experience and had worked in the trade press for years. The magazine’s editor did not suffer fools gladly and once dismissed an interview candidate after 10 minutes. The boss (a HS English teacher) knew no engineering, had never written commercially, had never worked with external marketing folks (as an editor marketing folk were “sources”), and the list continues. On one project, an 8-page capabilities brochure, the boss could make no contributions to the expected content. Project management? The boss spent six weeks on a review cycle, leaving me 1.5 days to write. I was not permitted to write until the review cycle was cast in stone. I met deadline and no no substantive edits were made.

  2. Oh boy, is this ever true! I’d add that your manager should have a clue what your job involves and be able to explain the processes involved in achieving the desired outcomes.

    I could write a book about bad managers. One in particular stands out. I was hired to enable him to get rid of another worker. I had virtually no job description, no training, got conflicting answers when I asked questions, or was told to find the answer in the shared drive which he apparently thought was the source of all knowledge. At some point, I met with Mr. Manager and expressed that I was really struggling to understand exactly what was expected of me. His answer? “What do you expect me to do about it?!?!”
    Then, when I resigned and he was trying to figure out how to assign my duties, he told me that he’d looked in the shared drive and that it was a mess and that it was nearly impossible to find anything in there! As I was leaving, he was writing up a job description and was on page 3.

    My take was that he had no idea what my job entailed. The person before me, who he eased out the door, just did whatever and as long as no one bothered the manager about anything, it was all good. Until it wasn’t.

  3. When I was promoted into a supervisor position at the last company I worked for, my Manager told me 2 things… #1: ‘you are now the subject of everyone else’s dinner conversation’. #2: ‘you can not expect your staff to do anything that you are not willing to do yourself, so let them see you do it’. At the time, cleaning of our area (including a washroom) was the responsibility of my department. So I would always work myself into the cleaning schedule, just the same as everyone else. I was overseeing instructors, so helping out in their classes when I could allowed me to stay current with what they were teaching, so if they had to stay home sick, I could cover in a pinch. My manager would also pitch in wherever/whenever needed just to help get the job done. When he moved and a new manager came in (and didn’t know ANYTHING of what any of us did), the atmosphere entirely changed. This person’s philosophy became ‘everyone does their own job, period’. No one was allowed to crossover or help each other out. I think that this was so that she did not have to learn anything and therefor would not have to ‘pitch in’. Many of us left within 6 months after.

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