Does it Pay to be a Nice Boss?

May 05, 2015 By JB Henriksen

I read an interesting article from the Harvard Business Review written my good friend Dr. Abe Bakhsheshy (perhaps the best professor I ever had the chance to take a class from at the University of Utah).
He questions whether it is better to be nice to your employees and co-workers or be the firm tough boss that drives results.  That is, and continues to be, an age-old debate in the management field.  I remember reading about Theory X and Theory Y managers.  Theory X individuals are inherently lazy and and not happy with their jobs, whereas Theory Y individuals are generally ambitious and trying to do their best.  I didn’t believe Theory X managers really existed, until I met the CFO for a company called PriceSavers.  He said he would never be friends with anyone at work, because it made it harder to fire them.  I thought he was joking, but he was dead serious.
The Harvard Business Review study he authored indicates tough bosses increase stress with people and actually reduce productivity.  This flys in the face of the baseball adage I remember, coined by the classic and fiery early-baseball-era coach, Leo Durocher, that “nice guys finish last”.  It helps to motivate people if they have buy-in of the over-all game plan and the goals of the company.  People value happiness over paychecks (of course it’s nice to have both).
So, we all still want results, but its nice to know you don’t have to be a jerk in order to get them.

JB Henricksen is a partner at Advanced CFO Solutions. At Advanced CFO Solutions, we provide outsourced accounting and financial services. We have served with more than 450 companies. Our clients see us as their strategic, outsourced CFO. We provide CEOs with critical information so they can make key decisions with confidence. We do this by leveraging our experience and technology to provide actionable information and results. And, we do it for a fraction of the cost of a full time employee.

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