If you’re even halfway interested in becoming a better leader, then I’m sure you’ve read dozens of books and articles and case studies about leadership. Most of them have statistics to support their various claims, and while many of them are absurdly obvious (“Managers who don’t scream or throw things at their employees are more well-respected than those who do!”), you’ve probably seen a few that make you really stop and think about your own approach to management and leadership. Chances are you haven’t even tried to organize those salient points into any sort of hierarchy, because how are you supposed to rank so many disparate facts and figures?
I’ll tell you how – by putting this one first and everything else a deeply distant second. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the most important management statistic you’re ever going to read. Drum roll, please.
“One study of healthcare workers found that when employees were working for a boss they disliked, they had significantly higher blood pressure. Boss-induced hypertension could increase the risk of coronary heart disease by one-sixth and stroke by one-third. And employees who work for bad bosses for four years or more are 64% more likely to experience a serious heart problem than employees who work for good bosses.” (Source: Occupational and Environmental Medicine)
In case the importance of this statistic is not immediately apparently, let me put it to you another way: your managerial practices can actually hasten the death of your employees. I’ll bet you never knew what truly awesome power you wielded.
In case you didn’t already know, the three most significant non-financial influences on an employee’s happiness are: their relationship to their immediate superiors; their relationship to their immediate coworkers; and the length and ease of the commute to work. As a manager, you are directly responsible for one-third of that happiness.
So the next time you see your employees, remember this. You can treat them well and receive their loyalty and increased productivity as a result of your efforts. You can listen to their ideas, address their concerns, and receive a creative and energetic workforce in return. Or you can send them to an early grave.
The choice is yours.