If you want employees to meet their deadlines, check their feelings first. That’s the takeaway from a pair of studies at Binghamton University, which found that people are most willing to work for bosses who combine compassion with clear goals. In the first study, researchers looked at 1,000 members of the Taiwanese military, cross-referencing performance reviews of junior officers with those officers’ ratings of leadership styles in their units.
The scientists then created an experiment that tested those results on 181 full-time U.S. workers, quizzing employees on which types of bosses would elicit the greatest level of effort. The worst form of leadership was found to be authoritarian, meaning managers overlook workers’ well being and care only about rules and numbers.
The most effective form of leadership was found to be a so-called paternalistic style (slightly sexist though the term may be), combining benevolence and authoritarianism.