I RECENTLY watched a science programme on the television. The focus was animal behaviour and their feelings.

One of the studies was about cows. The conclusion was that cows that were happy or contented with their handlers produced more milk. Handlers who were calm, patted the cattle and exhibited kindly and friendly behaviour resulted in higher production.

This is not the first study of feelings and the behaviour of cows. Dr Donald Broom, professor of Animal Welfare in Cambridge University's Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, challenged cows with situations requiring them to think and make decisions in overcoming a set of obstacles.

As the cows succeeded, "their brainwaves showed excitement, their heartbeat went up", the report showed. They liked challenges.

In another study, psychologists at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom played music of different tempos to herds of cattle.

The results? Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony and Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water were a big hit in the milking shed.

Easy listening produced more milk than fast-paced rock and roll. There is a direct relationship between friendly handlers, music and work.

This is true of people too. Reducing stress usually produces healthier and happier workers, and they in return produce more work for their efforts.

In a Gallup poll of two million workers from 700 organisations, researchers found that "the length of an employee's stay in an organisation is largely determined by his relationship with his immediate supervisor".

Contented workers continued working for supervisors they liked. However, 46 per cent quit if they did not like their boss. I guess the difference between cows and workers is that cows cannot quit and look for different handlers.

Contented workers are nurtured and developed by their supervisors' trust, expectations, challenges and responses. Supervisors who give praise for a job well done usually end up with employees returning the favour by producing more jobs done well.

In other words, if we appreciate how we are being handled or cared for, we produce more milk.

Some organisations might milk this information for all its worth, but organisations that foster a bond between management and employees should expect the cream of the crop and "butter-smooth" relationships.