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Bosses need to listen as well as lead

Bosses need to listen to their staff as well as lead them, according to new research by Stern School of Business, Duke Business School and Lehigh University in the US.

It's a common gripe that the boss never listens to suggestions or advice from the people in their team. High-flying leaders tend to have the courage of their convictions - which is probably what got them to the top in the first place - and can often feel that asking for advice is a sign of weakness.

However, research shows that having supreme confidence in one's own decision-making ability can be detrimental to good management. Bosses who fail to involve staff in the decision-making process can often find that they come across a lack of commitment when it comes to putting those decisions into practice. It's also important to recognise that managers can't be experts in everything, and that failing to seek advice from staff with specialist expertise can lead to uninformed decision making and bad choices.

So who are the best bosses? The research suggests that the most successful bosses are those who value their staff and feel confident in asking for their advice and input. Managers who feel able to consult their staff also tend to be more successful at fostering innovation and driving performance improvement, and inspire greater staff loyalty.

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