One of the key tenets of effective management and happy employees is for managers to lead by example. And it’s especially difficult for managers that do not exhibit to their subordinates the traits they expect of their workers.
A recent study by Florida State University shines the light on what employees think of their managers by focusing on how guilty they are of the time-honored seven deadly sins. Researchers, who polled 750 mid-level employees, said work- places are seeing increased levels of hostility due in large part to a deterioration of trust between supervisors and the people they manage. Worse yet, the poll found that employees who feel their bosses are guilty of sins have impaired work productivity and poorer health.
The employees polled were asked to describe how often they personally experienced a direct supervisor’s sins of wrath (anger), greed, sloth (laziness), pride, lust, envy and gluttony in the workplace.
Seven Deadly Sins
The seven deadly sins are a classification of objectionable vices that have been used since early Christian times. The most common sins that were reported across genders, different industries and levels of responsibility were sloth, lust, pride and greed. The poll found that:
- 41% of employees said their boss habitually pushes work on to others rather than doing it himself or herself (laziness);
- 33% said their boss tries to get others to stroke their ego (lust);
- 31% said their boss seeks undeserved admiration (pride);
- 27% said their boss pursues undeserved rewards (greed);
- 26% of employees said their boss frequently has trouble managing his or her anger;
- 23% of employees said their boss hoards resources that could be useful to others at work (gluttony); and
- 19% said their boss regularly acts enviously toward others who experience good things.
While this would seem to be bad in and of itself, the results of having a boss that is guilty of one or more of these sins are worse.
Effects on Workers
- Employees contributing less effort;
- Workers feeling overloaded by doing their supervisor’s work
- Staff being less likely to make creative suggestions to bosses.
- Employees looking for new jobs.
- Physical and emotional problems and exhaustion among workers
- Workers feeling anxious
What to do
It highlights the need for you to ensure that your own supervisors exhibit behavior that is conducive to strong employee productivity and maintaining a workplace that is devoid of hostility. The lesson from this study: lead by example. Work with your supervisors to make sure they follow this maxim.