Managing from afar
“If I can’t see my employees, then how do I know they’re really working?” That’s the big question asked by many managers when they imagine their direct reports working from home. And if that’s what your managers say when you tell them about your plans to institute a telecommuting policy, then they may not be a good fit for your firm. Such managers are “transactionally oriented,” says Derrick Neufeld of the Richard Ivey School of Business in his new study, “Remote Leadership, Communication Effectiveness and Leader Performance,” which asked 138 workers for their perceptions of their managers’ performance in virtual work arrangements. Such managers rely heavily on day-to-day interpersonal contact with their employees, and thus wouldn’t be able to manage a remote relationship effectively. You’ll need strong, “transformational” leaders to manage the new policy, says Neufeld, whose research shows that great leadership transcends physical distance. Transformational leaders communicate exceptionally in any situation, he says, and distance becomes “a moot point.”Ã
Stressed out? Good
Running a business is a stressful job at the best of times, but some kinds of stress can be good for business Ã¢¬” depending on your gender Ã¢¬” suggests a study published in the Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The study’s author, Dafna Kariv, surveyed 190 Israeli entrepreneurs in an attempt to determine whether potential stressors affect male and female business owners differently, and whether stress can affect their company’s financial performance. The results show that male and female entrepreneurs are affected by the same common stressors, but with different results. For example, role conflict Ã¢¬” defined as the experience of facing simultaneous conflicting demands from customers, employees and stakeholders Ã¢¬” was shown to cause stress for both women and men, but was correlated with increased company sales only among male entrepreneurs. The study also showed that having the support of employees and peers effectively buffered stress among both genders, but was linked to increased revenue only among female respondents.