What do people want in a boss? It’s an important question for employees and employers alike – especially since bad bosses may jeopardize one’s health. And too many Americans say they serve under poor leadership. In fact, around three-quarters of U.S. workers consider their boss the worst part of their daily work grind, according to USA Today.
Yet, it seems like bosses don’t mind that many employees can’t stand them. A 2014 Pew report said they consistently indicate having greater satisfaction in most aspects of life than their employees. It’s good to be the boss.
At the same time, studies show that the well being levels of both bosses and their employees are interrelated; a 2012 Gallup journal article suggested that one individual’s health may have a noticeable impact on the rest of the workplace.
So it may be no surprise to workers everywhere that a recent Entrepreneur column links prioritizing wellness at work with a surge in office productivity. If managers set the proper tone in the office, employees will feel better and perform to their full potential – and if bosses prioritize their own health, they’re more likely to improve relations with their employees. The cycle continues, and everyone wins.
Despite these findings, we Americans hold seemingly contradictory feelings about leadership. If we find our bosses such a hassle (and they can have a demonstrated effect on our health), why are we drawn to strong, confident figures who use “tough love”? A March column published in Forbes, like many leadership tips and advice guides, advocated for bosses to maintain high standards and avoid giving praise for the sake of giving praise.
The wellness studies point to a different conclusion. With this in mind, the answer to what we want in a boss seems to lie somewhere in the middle. Bosses must find a balance between maintaining a positive disposition and being forthright and stern with their employees. The ideal boss, as the Entrepreneur piece claims, emphasizes open communication while offering constant support without ever lowering his or her standards. It may be a tough line for bosses to straddle, but worth the effort to their employees’ health.