Big news out of DC last night, specifically the U.S. Supreme Court. I’ll address what we know in the “7 other things” section. First, our regularly scheduled (meaning I’d put it together by about 9:30 p.m. Monday) newsletter…
Bad boss behavior
They say people don't quit bad jobs. They quit bad bosses.
So here's an exercise. Think about the worst boss you've ever known. Research suggests it's likely this boss had one bad habit that made you dislike working for him or her.
Frankly, it's one that people might not think of on their own.
Actually, I have two studies to discuss today, both asking the same question:
What are the "bad boss behaviors" that employees hate most, and that might encourage them to quit?
We’ll start with the one from Harris Interactive a few years back, where they asked employees to disclose the things their bosses did that drove them crazy.
They came up with nine examples:
“My boss doesn't recognize employee achievements.” (63 percent)
“My boss doesn't give clear directions.” (57 percent)
“My boss doesn't take time to meet with employees.” (52 percent)
“My boss refuses to talk to subordinates.” (51 percent)
“My boss takes credit for others' ideas.” (47 percent)
“My boss doesn't offer constructive criticism.” (39 percent)
“My boss doesn't know my name.” (36 percent)
“My boss won't talk on the phone (or in person).” (34 percent)
My boss doesn't ask about my life outside of work.” (23 percent)
Wait, more than half said their bossed refused to talk to subordinates?
How do you even—OK. Moving on.
What I found most interesting was to juxtapose this study with another one that said it found a "worse behavior" that the employees themselves were not able to see—one that became apparent only when independent observers looked at their situations and realized what was going on.
It was this:
“My boss is inconsistent.”
Employees suffered a greater negative effect on their happiness and productivity when their boss inconsistently displayed bad behavior than when the boss was consistently bad.
"Intuitively, you would think the more fairness you get, the better. But that's not what we demonstrated. It's better if supervisors are a consistent jerk than if they're fair sometimes and not fair other times. People want to know what they can expect when they come into work," the lead researcher on the study out of Michigan State University, Fadel Matta, told The Washington Post.
These Michigan researchers conducted two experiments.
The first was a lab experiment, in which college students were hooked up to heart monitors and told to perform a cognitive task (estimating a hypothetical company's stock price).
One third of the students were given positive feedback.
A second third was told that they were doing poorly. (I found the examples of negative phrases amusing: "All I can say is that I wish I was working with someone else," and "It sucks to work with an unmotivated person.")
The final third heard a mix of the two—some positive reinforcement, combined with negative feedback.
The employees who received positive feedback did best, but it wasn't the ones who received negative feedback who did worst—it was instead the ones who got the mixed messages.
Separately, about 100 workers and their bosses were asked to complete surveys over a three-week period. The employees were being tested for their perception of fairness while bosses were being tested for their ability to maintain self control:
"Again, employees who had unpredictable managers were more likely to be stressed, dissatisfied with their jobs and emotionally exhausted than those who said they were always treated unfairly."
What do you think? Is inconsistency really the hidden cardinal sin of leadership and management? Or is there something else we haven’t included here? Let us know in the comments.
7 other things worth knowing today
The U.S. Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, according to reports. A draft majority opinion written by Justice Alito and obtained by Politico states: "We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled ... Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences." Worth noting: votes sometimes change before decisions become official. It would seem unlikely here but not impossible.(Politico)
It's unclear how Politico got a copy of this draft opinion. I suppose there's some tiny chance it's a fake, but every Supreme Court scholar I saw weighing in on it said it looks and sounds real, and the writing style is very much Alito's. How rare is this kind of leak? Votes have leaked in the past; getting a full draft as this appears to be is unprecedented in the modern era. (Politico)
This article was published earlier in the day, but it seems right: "Advocates and some GOP lawmakers have started mobilizing around potential federal legislation to outlaw abortion ... including a push for a strict nationwide ban on the procedure if Republicans retake power in Washington." (WashPost)
How an unprecedented shortage in fertilizer will likely affect crop yields and food prices this year and next. "For the billions of people around the world who don’t work in agriculture, the global shortage of affordable fertilizer likely reads like a distant problem. In truth, it will leave no household unscathed." (Bloomberg)
Seems related to today's story: 12 research-backed strategies to help you manage anxiety at work. (Business Insider)
Must have had good bosses: A 100-year-old Brazilian man broke the Guinness world record for longest tenure at a single company: 84 years. (USA Today)
Did you know you can buy a very basic electric car for about $5,000 in China (a "city car" that tops out around 60 mph with only 75 miles of range, but still)? Wired took one for a review drive. (Wired)