Is it good to be a ‘nice’ leader to get people to like you?
Or is it better to be tough to inspire respect and hard work?
Or are both doable?
If you are a caring leader, would you be perceived as being ‘soft’?
If you are firm and keep your distance, wouldn’t your people know who is in charge?
Does being kind pay at all?
Developments in organizational research provide surprising answers to these questions.
- Healthcare costs for employees with high stress levels were found to be 46% greater than at similar organizations without high levels of stress. Stress impacts health and turnover.
- Research by Amy Cuddy at Harvard Business School shows that leaders who are warm are more effective than those who lead with toughness.
- A study by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) found that Happiness at work is more important than a high salary
- When we work with people who help us, we are more likely to help others (and not necessarily those who helped us)
- A good leader may literally be good for the heart. A study of 3000 employees found that leader behaviour was associated with incidence of heart disease in their employees!
Most of the research suggests that a compassionate workplace fosters engagement through the qualities of leaders such as genuine interpersonal kindness.
We have to start valuing kindness at work more.
And then maybe we will all be a little happier at work.