Employees perform better at their jobs when their bosses show compassion, according to a study which suggests that benevolent leaders help businesses achieve their goals.
Researchers from Binghamton University in the US wanted to determine how both the presence and lack of benevolence affects the job performance of followers.
"If you feel that your leader or boss actually cares about you, you may feel more serious about the work you do for them," said Tsai.
Researchers surveyed nearly 1,000 members of the Taiwanese military and almost 200 adults working full-time in the US, and looked at the subordinate performance that resulted from three different leadership styles.
They found that authoritarianism-dominant leaders -- who assert absolute authority and control, focused mostly on completing tasks at all costs with little consideration of the well-being of subordinates -- almost always had negative results on job performance.
On the other hand, benevolence-dominant leadership -- where primary concern is the personal or familial well-being of subordinates -- almost always had a positive impact on job performance.
They also found that classical paternalistic leadership, which combines both benevolence and authoritarianism, had just as strong an effect on subordinate performance as benevolent-dominant leadership.
The parent and child relationship is the first leader-follower relationship that people experience. It can become a bit of a prototype of what we expect out of leadership going forward, and the paternalistic leadership style kind of resembles that of a parent," Tsai said.
The findings imply that showing personal and familial support for employees is a critical part of the leader-follower relationship.
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