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Study: Time with the Boss a Good Thing
 

By Aliah D. Wright  7/2/2014
 

Studies show spending more time with your boss and building a positive relationship with him or her are good ways to advance your career.

According to the Optimal Hours with the Boss study from Leadership IQ, most employees spend only half the time they should with their leaders. Workers who interact with their supervisors at least six hours per week are 30 percent more engaged, 16 percent more innovative and 15 percent more motivated than employees who spend just one hour a week with their boss.

However, there can be too much of a good thing. “When people spend more than six hours per week interacting with their leader, diminishing returns are shown in terms of building inspiration, engagement and motivation,” the report states. “While there may be other benefits to interacting with one’s leader more than six hours per week, this study shows levels of inspiration or engagement remain the same or declined beyond six hours of interaction. The only exception to this is seen in innovation, which shows spikes at 11-15 hours, and again at 20 plus hours spent with their leader.”

So how should employees spend time with their boss? While today’s technology allows people to connect via phone and videoconferencing, through texting and on social sites, face-to-face and e-mail are best.

“Face time matters for both leaders and employees alike,” noted Mark Murphy, founder and CEO of Leadership IQ, a leadership training and research company. Researchers surveyed more than 32,000 American and Canadian executives, managers and employees from January through May 2014 for the report.

Research has long showed a direct correlation among engagement, mentoring and retention, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

“Employees who have many connections are more embedded, and thus have numerous reasons to stay in an organization,” according to a 2008 SHRM Foundation report, Retaining Talent: A Guide to Analyzing and Managing Employee Turnover.

“Managers in small organizations should leverage well-established predictors they may be in a particularly good position to offer, such as building positive work-group cultures, providing employees with challenging jobs and making each worker feel valued.”

For the third consecutive year, according to a separate 2014 SHRM study titled Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: The Road to Economic Recovery, employees rated their relationship with their immediate supervisor among the top five job satisfaction contributors.

In fact, 54 percent reported that relationship was very important to their job satisfaction.

“Leaders who aim to improve their direct reports’ level of engagement, motivation, inspiration or innovation need to assess whether they’re spending enough time interacting with them,” added Murphy, who is also the New York Times best-selling author of Hundred Percenters: Challenge Your People to Give It Their All and They’ll Give You Even More (McGraw-Hill, 2009).

“Likewise, if you’re looking for a promotion by shining on these same criteria, one best bet is to spend the right amount of time with your boss,” he said.

 

Aliah D. Wright is an editor/manager for SHRM Online.

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