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Bosses who yell, micromanage and threaten their way to the top, often at the expense of miserable underlings are all too common in today's workplaces.
But the Tony Sopranos and Darth Vaders of popular culture are not the most effective CEOs in the real world, according to a new study from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.
The best bosses are humble bosses, those who empower and appreciate their employees, are open to feedback and care about the greater good, according to the research published in Administrative Science Quarterly.
"Humility is not weakness," Angelo Kinicki, a professor of W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, said Tuesday during a phone interview.
"Humility has its effects across levels of an organization in an empowered, uplifting way. You can't browbeat people into performance."
The research comes from Kinicki, Anne Tsui and David Waldman of the W.P Carey School, Amy Ou of the National University of Singapore, Zhixing Xiao of George Washington University, and Lynda Jiwen Song of the Renmin University of China.
They interviewed the CEOs of 63 private companies in China and about 1,000 of the managers who work with them.
What they found is that humble bosses are strong bosses.
Traditionally, bombastic, self-assured, egocentric people are often thought to be the best leaders, Kinicki said.
"There's a stereotype that humble people are weak people, and I've never agreed with that," Kinicki said.
"Humble people are quieter, more in the background, but they lead in a different way, by empowering their employees, which trickles down," Kinicki said.
He said the qualities of a humble boss include:
• Self awareness.
•.Openness to feedback.
• Appreciation of others.
• Low self-focus.
• Appreciation of the greater good.
The qualities of CEOs with less humility include:
• More self-focus.
• Concern over their self gain, as opposed to helping the team.
• More controlling.
• Unilateral decision making.
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