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Buddy Up to Your Boss ... You'll Be Glad You Did

Buddy Up to Your Boss ... You'll Be Glad You Did
Employees should be spending 6 hours with their boss each week. / Credit: Boss image via Shutterstock

Your boss probably isn't your first choice for an office buddy. But spending more time with your direct supervisor each week could end up benefiting you, new research suggests.

Most employees are spending only half the time they should be with their direct supervisor, according to a study from the leadership training and research company Leadership IQ. Even though researchers found that the optimal amount of time to spend with a manager is 6 hours a week, less than 30 percent of workers spend that much time with their boss, and less than 50 percent of workers interact with their supervisor for at least 3 hours each week.

nearly half of the workers surveyed are only interacting with their boss for 3 hours. Overall, less than 30 percent of workers spend the needed 6 hours with their leaders.

The research discovered that workers who do spend 6 hours each week interacting with their direct leader are 29 percent more inspired, 30 percent more engaged, 16 percent more innovative and 15 percent more intrinsically motivated than those who spend only 1 hour per week with their boss. Inspiration was measured by the number of employees who said working for their company inspires them to give their best effort, while engagement was determined by the number of workers who would recommend their employer as a great company to work for. In addition, innovation was measured by the number of workers who said they keep generating new ideas each week that help the organization improve.

Mark Murphy, founder and CEO of Leadership IQ, said face time matters for both leaders and employees alike.

"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," Murphy said. "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."

However, the study also revealed that too much time spent with the boss can have a negative effect. When employees spend more than 6 hours per week interacting with their leader, it reduces inspiration, engagement and motivation. The only exception to this finding was in innovation, which spiked between 11 and 15 hours, and again at more than 20 hours.

In addition, the amount of time employees spend with their leaders corresponds with the methods in which they choose to communicate with them. Among employees who spend only 1 hour per week interacting with their supervisor, 33 percent of that time is face-to-face interaction and 42 percent is email interaction. Besides these two options, other ways in which employees and their bosses communicate with each other include talking on the phone, video conferencing, texting and social media.

In contrast, among workers who spend 6 hours per week with their boss, nearly half of their interaction is face-to-face, and much less of their time — 27 percent — is spent interacting via email

Despite conventional thinking that senior executives and middle managers would need less time interacting with their leader than frontline employees do, the study found the opposite: The executives surveyed experienced their highest levels of inspiration when spending between 7 and 8 hours per week interacting with their boss, while middle managers felt their highest levels of inspiration when spending between 9 and 10 hours per week doing so.

The study was based on surveys of 32,410 U.S. and Canadian executives, managers and employees.

Originally published on Business News Daily

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.