Great Bosses Do These Three Things

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If one of your resolutions in the New Year is to become an even better boss, new research suggests your employees won’t just be happier as a result—they’ll also become more productive employees. Stanford Business professor Kathryn Shaw worked on a case study with Edward Lazear and Christopher Stanton which used data-driven analysis to study the influence of supervisors on employee productivity at a bank. According to the study results, the difference in productivity between employees with the best supervisors and others is significant, and measurable. “Replacing a boss who is in the lower 10 percent of boss quality with one who is in the upper 10 percent of boss quality increases a team’s total output by more than adding one worker to a nine-member team would,” the study found. Workers assigned to better bosses were also more likely to stay with the company.

Some of the study results, and a similar study co-authored by Shaw, are written up in an article in the Autumn 2016 issue of Stanford Business Magazine. The following are the three major traits of effective bosses, according to the study:

  • Sharing a vision: An effective manager “vividly describes the company’s vision and mission,” and skillfully shares that with each employee, showing how they fit into the vision.
  • Driving results: Great bosses take time to “coach, guide, and motivate” their employees.
  • Helping realize dreams: These leaders “help employees achieve their personal career goals,” write the authors.

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