It's always a little tough going back to work after a long holiday weekend, but a new study shows that your boss's attitude may make all the difference in your how you feel about work now and in the future.
A University of Michigan study finds that workers who have a leader who shows positive energy are more productive, have a greater commitment to their jobs and are absent less. This "relational energy" isn't charisma or personality -- it's simply the way people feel after interacting with the positive person, researchers explain.
"Managers spend so much time managing information and influence," says Kim Cameron, the William Russell Kelly Professor of Management and Organizations. "But relational energy trumps both of those by a factor of four as an outcome determiner."
Further, the payoff isn't just a better work life for employees, but a better home life as well. A related study finds that such positive leadership spills over into personal lives.
"When we interact with people, some buoy us up and others bring us down. When you're buoyed up you tend to bring that home," says Wayne Baker, the Robert P. Thome Professor of Management and Organizations and professor of sociology.
Researchers say they learned that many managers know that something is wrong at work, but can't seem to pinpoint the cause. They may try motivational gimmicks or other ways to boost loyalty, but seem to fall short.
However, once they do a "relational energy survey" and look at the "bright" parts of the organization and the "black holes," they clearly can see where they need to make improvements.
Finally, it you're one of the "bright" spots in your organization, your attitude may help your career as managers come to understand your important contribution to the performance of a team.
"Do people get promoted or hired because they're a positive energizer? No, it's not even on the agenda," Cameron says. "So here's a resource that's been ignored but is a major predictor of performance."
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