Friday, July 20, 2012

Happiness Metric: The Effect of a Bad Boss

Bad bosses are one of most damaging factors in companies leading to unhappy employees which directly affects customer satisfaction and lowers revenue. One of the the primary effects of Scrum is to eliminate the bad boss. Any leader who wants to be better should take a look at Scrum. And those who are doing Scrum will notice that a bad ScrumMaster will have the same effect. We have never seen a hyperproductive Scrum team without a good ScrumMaster. 

As Takeuchi and Nonaka point out, a leader implementing Scrum would be a "Wise Leader." Join us in Kendall Square where we will discuss this in Scrum training on 26-27 July.

How Damaging Is a Bad Boss, Exactly?

Quite simply, the better the leader, the more engaged the staff. Take, for example, results from a recent study we did on the effectiveness of 2,865 leaders in a large financial services company. You can see a straight-line correlation here between levels of employee engagement and our measure of the overall effectiveness of their supervisors (as judged not just by the employees themselves but by their bosses, colleagues, and other associates on 360 assessments). So, as you can see at the low end, the satisfaction, engagement, and commitment levels of employees toiling under the worst leaders (those at or below the 10th percentile) reached only the 4th percentile. (That means 96% of the company's employees were more committed than those mumbling, grumbling, unhappy souls.) At the other end, the best leaders (those in the 90th percentile) were supervising the happiest, most engaged, most committed employees — those happier than more than 92% of their colleagues.

This study is by no means unusual. We've seen the same pattern in the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands, Spain, United Arab Emirates, and India. We've seen it in financial services, manufacturing, high-tech, government, universities, hospitals, food service, oil, and every other industry we've studied. We've seen it in organizations employing 225,000 people and 250.
And we're not the only ones who've seen it: In a recent article, Jim Clifton, the CEO of the Gallup organization, found that 60% of employees working for the U.S. federal government are miserable — not because of low pay, poor workplace benefits, or insufficient vacation days — but because they have bad bosses. He goes so far as to report a silver-bullet fix to this situation: "Just name the right manager. No amount of pay and benefits will solve the problems created by a manager who has no talent for the task at hand." Read more ...


Ben Linders said...

Good to see that "Happiness Metrics" are getting more exposure. Profesionals who are motivated will perform better in (agile) teams, and they will still have energy left when they go home to their family!

Piikkila said...

We are embracing the Happy Meter at our new company which is an amazing opportunity to shape the culture around the people.
When Jeff posts this kind of data, it helps strengthen adoption with my peers and my leadership team.