- Managers who show compassion to subordinates nearly always improve workers' performance, especially when that compassion is coupled with clear goals and benchmarks, according to new research published by Binghamton University, State University at New York.
- The study revealed that authoritarianism-dominant leadership almost always had negative results on job performance, while benevolence-dominant leadership almost always had a positive impact on job performance. "In other words, showing no compassion to your employees doesn't bode well for their job performance, while showing compassion motivated them to be better workers," the university said.
- The results mean that managers should put just as much or even more of an emphasis on the well-being of employees as they do on hitting targets and goals, the researchers concluded.
These latest findings appear consistent with other recent study results, but compassion can't start and end with managers. Empathy from top-level executives has an impact on employee engagement and performance, too, according to a 2017 Businesssolver report. Employees value, want and expect empathy from their employers but, according to another Businesssolver report, less than half say they're getting it.
A culture of compassion or empathy may improve productivity, but because such characteristics may not come naturally to every manager, training can help. In a recent West Monroe Partners study, almost 60% of managers who oversee one to two employees reported having no training at all, but more than 40% of those who oversee three to five workers said the same.
HR professionals can use training and coaching to ensure that managers have the tools they need to be effective leaders. Whether new or seasoned, managers can often use extra support, especially as the workforce evolves and employees' needs change.