One would assume that our boss - one of the biggest influences on our well being and happiness, and thus productivity, and thus their own well being and happiness and productivity, is applying the results of years of research, data, education, pedagogy, heuristics and science on how to get the best out of us.
After all - aren't we our boss's 'most important asset'?
She's done all that training, right? She's attended courses on everything - First Aid, Equal Opportunity, Work Health and Safety, Mental Well-being, iPads, Performance Management, Mediation and Meditation, Work-Life Balance, Difficult Conversations, Code of Conduct, Recycling, Train the Trainer, and of course, Good Decision Making.
She's got KPIs and budgets and 360 degree feedback and performance reviews and lists 'Teamwork' and 'People Person' and 'Leading High Performance Teams' on her LinkedIn page.
She's being measured and measuring within an inch or 2.54mm of her life.
It's all evidence based - isn't it? This whole management thing?...
(Psst....We have proof. She's making it up as she goes along. Every boss in the World is.)
A discussion paper released by researchers in Germany has found 'little research' anywhere in the World on how bosses affect the quality of the lives of their workers. Indeed, it claims its data and findings are the first of their kind.
It's okay. The research evidence supports what a good boss has worked out for themselves.
The evidence 'is consistent with the view that boss competence is central to employee well-being and thus to the behavior of labor markets'.
The paper cites 'growing evidence' that ‘happier’ workers are more productive. (In true researcher style, they took into account potential for bias in more cheerful employees reporting higher levels of job satisfaction and boss competence.)
The researchers write:
'Bosses are, in principle, special workers because they are in charge. They make a range of important organizational decisions. Therefore, it may be desirable not to view a boss as just another factor of production, or as altering only the quality of an employee’s input through greater marginal product in the production function. Instead, it may be appropriate to view a boss as being able to shape the nature of the organization itself.'
The workers surveyed showed that while most thought that their boss couldn't do the worker's job if the worker was absent, their bosses were good at being....bosses.
Employees enjoy their jobs far more where the supervisor is assessed as 'technically competent'.
Indeed, the data shows that the technical competence of the supervisor has double the effect on employee satisfaction than does the employee's wage.
The researchers conclude from the data that 'the quality of workers’ lives is higher if the supervisor is highly competent, in a technical sense, at his or her job.'
They acknowledge that the results are so intuitive as to be 'obvious'. But they argue that now we have proof that our boss can make us happy and therefore more productive, we need to do more research on how our boss can make us happy.
Perhaps it will show that a boss will be more likely to make us happy if she is happy.
And what might make our boss happy?
Probably us doing our job.
(Could it be that there's other stuff that bosses are making up as they go along?)