A recent National Bureau of Economic Research study shows that when workers are treated as partners by their bosses, their satisfaction is equivalent to doubling their income.
A fundamental shift is taking place in the workplace, with leaders working as partner-bosses rather than heavy-handedly dominating and controlling their employees.
As reported in the Washington Post, the study shows that “people with boss-supervisors exhibit a much more significant drop in life satisfaction between their early 20s and mid-40s” as opposed to people working with partner-bosses.
Forgive me, and I don’t mean to sound superior, but for me partner leadership has come naturally as I’ve worked over several decades with interns, reporters, and creative teams. Perhaps because I hailed from the ranks of working reporters, I remembered the best ways bosses motivated me – and the bosses who never tried.
Once I was promoted to editor positions, I endeavored to see the value in everyone, mentor their opportunities for career growth, and insulate them from office politics so they could perform at the highest levels. I strived to form personal connections so that I functioned as a working leader rather than an absentee one. As much as possible, I wanted my direct reports to work independently and make their own decisions.
By attempting to improve employees’ lives, partner-bosses are the most successful motivational and inspirational leaders.
In contrast, I’ve worked for several nightmare bosses during my career who have squelched creativity, seized control as micro-managers, offered murky or little guidance and feedback, and showed no regard for their employees’ career growth or job satisfaction.
Their lack of support and selfish rather than servant leadership affected not only me but every staff member. Work satisfaction was non-existent and employee morale plummeted, yet our bosses were rewarded with bigger salaries, fancy offices, and other perks.
In some workplaces, the top leadership employs fear as a supervisory tactic. In others, the disconnect between leadership and workers is profound.
But in the best, most productive and happiest workplaces, partners – supervisors and employees alike – work together toward a focused common goal. Partner-bosses set a high bar for themselves as they strive for productivity and excellence while concentrating on improving the lives of their employees and helping them feel a part of the company’s success.