The value of a good boss

Most people who have worked have had bosses, and moreover they have had both good bosses and bad bosses. What do bosses really do, and is there a quantifiable value for a good boss? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden responds.

“Those are great questions. I think every person who’s worked for someone else – that is, had a boss —

has probably asked those questions. The research that’s been done on this, and there has been some research, says that the most important thing a boss can do is to teach skills, show workers what to do and show them how to do it.

“Second is their motivation – trying to motivate people to work well. And the research also shows that good bosses matter. The research indicates that if you have a good boss, that person can boost worker productivity by about 10 percent. Now that’s significant given that most companies work on a profit margin of about 3 to 4 percent.

“I think the big challenge for companies is obviously being able to spot and identify, hopefully before the case, good bosses from bad bosses and then when they do have bad bosses having the ability to go in and replace them. But the bottom line here is that bosses do matter.”


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