On today's Freakonomics podcast they discussed whether or not bosses have an impact on worker productivity. It is probably not a big surprise that bosses can have a substantial impact. What is interesting though is that the study quantifies the importance of a good boss. What most of us know intrinsically, this paper supports mathematically. Here are some highlights from the study:
1 – A good boss can have an impact equal to adding 1 person to a 9 person team
2 – Good bosses increase productivity for all types of workers (young, old, new, seasoned, etc.)
3 – The impact of a good boss is greater on a good worker than it is on lower quality workers. (This is my favorite piece of data) In a few podcasts Mark claims that you should focus on opportunities and not problems(i.e. your top performers, not your lowest performers), and this data supports that claim. Isn’t it wonderful when science backs you up?
Here is the link to the Freakonomics website, where the story and blog are posted:
Here is a link to the PDF version of the study:
As the world gets better at collecting data we will have more transactional level detail of how management affects people and we should continue to see an improvement in the management profession. Ultimately, these findings will set the bar higher for managers, and hopefully one day management will be considered the “most noble of professions” as Clayton Christensen says.
As a friendly warning, the paper was written by economists…it can be a little dense.