Multiplier Effect of a Strong Leader“We all have our boss horror stories. The underminer. The bad communicator. The credit hog. The snake. Then again, if we’re lucky, we’ve all had those amazing bosses as well — the supervisor who encourages all employees to take their work up to the next level; the manager who makes everyone around them look better.”

This all too true observation comes from Michael Blanding in, “What’s a Boss Worth?” just published by Working Knowledge from Harvard Business School. Michael’s article cites new research from Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Christopher Stanton. Stanton and his coauthors worked with a technology services company that tracked all workers’ transaction times. Since supervisors were rotated frequently and team productivity was carefully tracked it was possible to isolate and compare the impact of the leader on the team’s effectiveness.

Once they reviewed all the data they concluded that “replacing a boss who was in the bottom 10 percent of the distribution with a boss who was in the top 10 percent had the same effect as adding another whole worker to a nine-person team — a huge effect for such a small variation in quality.”

This is yet more evidence of the strong need for effective leadership development. Of course, not all leadership development efforts actually change behavior and helps the leader to be more effective. When it does — as shown in Stanton’s research — the payback can be substantial.

In a two minute video clip on The Impact of Leadership on Employee Turnover you can catch me presenting our 360 data on the multiplying — or diminishing — effect of the boss’ effectiveness on his or her direct reports. I also discuss “on the job retirement” of disengaged people brought about by weak leaders.

For more research and data on the pivotal impact of leadership, view these links: