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Employee Productivity and Bad Bosses

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 by Slaughter Development

Improving employee productivity is part of the goal of every business, small and large. The biggest problem in improving productivity, however, may rest with the boss.

A new article from The Atlantic explains:

The psychological climate in which you work has a lot to do with your health and happiness. Recent research has found, perhaps not surprisingly, that bad bosses can affect how your whole family relates to one another. They can also affect your physical health, raising your risk for heart disease.

Now, new research illustrates how bad bosses can shoot themselves in the foot, hindering their employees’ morale, rather than helping it.

However, if you really want to understand the relationship between employee productivity, employee satisfaction, and the behavior of supervisors, you have to dig into the study. Unfortunately, the journalist doesn’t mention what may be the most important two terms in the entire field of organizational psychology right now: hedonic and eudaiomonic well-being.

Stay with us for a moment. Here’s what scientists mean by these words:

  • Hedonic well-being (think “hedonism”) is the sense of pleasure you get from the external world. For example: eating a tasty meal, watching your favorite team win, or watching a favorite movie.
  • Eudaimonic well-being (think “euphoria”) is the sense of satisfaction you get from acting with intention. Eudaimonia is a Greek word that refers to the pleasure from genuine engagement and meaning. It’s what you get from being absorbed and fascinated with the challenge of whatever you’re doing.

Now, back to bad bosses. When supervisors micromanage their employees (instead of focusing on employee freedom) they destroy any hope of  having a sense of purpose at work.

And as you might imagine, this is much worse for employee productivity than just simple displeasure. If the office is uncomfortable or customers are behaving badly, you can bite your tongue without too much effort. But if your boss doesn’t believe in you, what reason do you have to believe in yourself?

Keep an eye on office morale and destructive personalities. They may be the biggest cause of employee productivity issues, ever.

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

Work at Home for More Employee Productivity - Employee productivity is always a hot topic. A new study covers the impact that working from home has on employee productivity—and it might surprise you. Read on »
Dear Micromanaged Employee - A noted writer and speaker has a message to the micromanagers of the world. That message is: “stop it.”
Read on »
The Insult of “Employee Appreciation Day” - Employee appreciation is something we know we should do. Employee appreciation encourages productivity and retention, right? But it’s also kind of insulting. Read on »
Want to learn more? Register now for the 2012 Productivity Series

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