A quick summary of some interesting items I’ve read recently about how to make your workplace more emotionally intelligent and get your staff engaged with their work.

First up is Gallup chairman and CEO Jim Clifton, blogging about What Makes Workplaces Miserable. It turns out that it’s not pay, benefits, or work-life balance that makes the biggest difference to engagement – it’s knowing what’s expected of you and having a good manager. So to cure a disengaged workplace, get rid of lousy managers and hire people who know how to develop others.

“Solutions come when employers understand that the art of supervising and managing in the new millennium is closer to being a coach than to being a boss.

To predict an employee’s engagement, the single most important question you can ask is, “Does your manager care about your development?” When and if you nail that one, it fixes compensation, benefits, and work-life balance — and misery magically disappears.”

Speaking of lousy bosses, I’m a big fan of Robert Sutton’s book The No-Asshole Rule. There are a couple of extracts from his new book, Good Boss, Bad Boss, on the Fast Company site:

Are you a power-poisoned boss? and What good bosses do with bad apples

He’s also created a couple of fairly light-hearted self-assessment tests with pretty ‘broad’ titles: one for bosses winningly called The ARSE (Asshole Rating Self Exam) test, and a companion test for employees, which I suspect will get more honest answers – the BRASS (Boss Reality Assessment Survey System) test.

Finally, after all that boss-bashing, some positive suggestions from Tomas Hajzler’s Freedom @ Work blog about how to increase, yes, freedom at work – 21 ideas that he got from attending the Worldblu Live 2011 conference.

Note: the links to Robert Sutton’s books in this newsletter are affiliate links – if you buy the book, I get a tiny amount of money!

Leadership and engagement round-up: how to cure a toxic workplace

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