Recruiting or training managers to have empathy and integrity could be key to improving productivity, according to recent research.
The study from the University of Exeter Business School found ‘servant leaders’ – kind-hearted bosses who build a positive culture of trust and fairness in the office – benefit their business through creating loyal teams.
The report revealed servant leadership creates a positive working relationship between the manager and employee. These leaders share their power among their team, put the needs of employees ahead of customer needs and encourage staff development.
This style of leadership and raised employee-manager engagement was linked by researchers to an increase in business productivity.
“Our work shows that, as expected, a servant leader who is ethical, trustworthy and has a real interest in the wellbeing and development of staff, brings about positives within the workplace,” said Dr Allan Lee, senior lecturer in management at the University of Exeter Business School and lead author of the report.
“Employees are more positive about their work and therefore also feel empowered to become more creative.”
The research, published in the Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology, analysed 130 independent studies which looked into leadership strategies and their effect on productivity.
The results suggested organisations create a culture which promotes trust, fairness and quality relationships between staff and managers.
“Given the results, we recommend organisations look to put servant leaders into influential positions and that training programmes and selection processes are aligned to make this happen,” added Lee.