Good Bosses and Workplace Happiness

Over at the Harvard Business Review, there’s a great post on the importance of human connection at work. It starts off by explaining that some research finds that employees prefer happiness at work to larger pay:

So what leads to employee happiness? A workplace characterized by humanity. An organizational culture characterized by forgiveness, kindness, trust, respect, and inspiration. Hundreds of studies conducted by pioneers of positive organizational psychology, including Jane Dutton and Kim Cameron at the University of Pennsylvania and Adam Grant at Wharton, demonstrate that a culture characterized by a positive work culture leads to improved employee loyalty, engagement, performance, creativity, and productivity. Given that about three-quarters of the U.S. workforce is disengaged at work — and the high cost of employee turnover — it’s about time organizations start paying attention to the data.

Research suggests that the most powerful way leaders can improve employee well-being is not through programs and initiatives but through day-to-day actions. For example, data from a large study run by Anna Nyberg at the Karolinska Institute shows that having a harsh boss is linked to heart problems in employees. On the other side of the coin, research demonstrates that leaders who are inspiring, empathic, and supportive have more loyal and engaged employees. So checking in with employees about their families once in a while may help more than offering a mindfulness class at lunchtime.

This is a powerful reminder that “organizations are first and foremost places of human interaction, not just transaction. Research shows that our greatest need after food and shelter is social connection — positive social relationships with others. If we create work environments characterized by these kinds of positive and supportive interactions, we create organizations that thrive.”

In other words, stop being a horrible boss.