Staff happiness has become a popular idea in industry circles, with companies clamouring to be featured on the lists of the best companies to work for. However, new research conducted by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University shows that bosses who are too nice to their staff might be hurting their bottom line.
According to the study’s findings, conscious corporate governance was positively related to healthy employee relations and the achievement of equal opportunities and workforce diversity. However, the study also found that conscious corporate governance was also directly negatively related to profitability.
The report, which was published in the South African Journal of Labour Relations and entitled Pursuing triple bottom line sustainability through conscious corporate governance, found that leaders who were inclined towards conscious corporate governance were more likely to have healthy employee relations, a diverse workforce and equal opportunities.
According to Business Insider, conscious leadership is a new area in leadership studies. Compared to traditional leadership styles, which rely on force and manipulation, conscious leadership focuses on creativity and has a more holistic approach.
American leadership expert Jeff Klien, a founding trustee of Conscious Capitalism, describes a conscious leader as someone who recognises that there’s a higher purpose for their business.
They are leaders who “lead from this awareness [and] are essential to the ongoing learning, growth and development of their organisation, and of the people who comprise its corpus”, he explains in the Triple Pundit.
This type of leader recognises that people are complex and not machines.
The South African study looked at 371 directors and senior managers from 167 JSE-listed and 54 unlisted companies. It also found that conscious leaders were necessary for the sustainability of a company.
The happiness of staff is important for companies. Fast Company reports that happy and satisfied employees were 12% more productive than those who were unhappy. They’re also more creative when it comes to problem-solving.
Additional sources: Business Insider, Fast Company