Leadership IQ Study Reveals Optimal Interaction Time Between Employees and Bosses in the Workplace

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Are you spending enough time with your boss…or too much? New research reveals that the median time employees spend interacting with bosses is approximately three hours per week – just half of the six hours found to be optimal for engagement.

“Face-time matters for both leaders and employees alike,” notes Mark Murphy, founder and CEO of Leadership IQ.

According to a new study “Optimal Hours with the Boss” from Leadership IQ, most people spend only half the time they should be spending with their boss. People who do spend an optimal number of hours interacting with their direct leader (six hours per week) are 29% more inspired, 30% more engaged, 16% more innovative and 15% more intrinsically motivated than those who spend only one hour per week.

However, it turns out that 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. 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+ hours spent with their leader.

How should time be spent with your leader? Of the many ways people communicate with their leaders (face-to-face, email, phone, video conferencing, texting, social media, etc.), face-to-face and email are by far the most common. These modes shifted as respondents spent more time interacting in person with their leader. Most notably, among people who only spend one hour per week interacting with their leader, 33% of that time is spent in face-to-face interaction and 42% is spent via email. By contrast, those who spend six hours per week interacting with their leader spend much more of their time (48%) in face-to-face interactions, and much less of their time (27%) interacting via email. So the findings indicate that not only is the amount of time spent interacting with one’s leader important, but increasing the percentage of face-to-face interaction matters as well.

While it might have been expected that senior executives and middle managers would need less time interacting with their leader than frontline employees do, the study found that the opposite is true. Executives experienced their highest levels of inspiration when spending 7-8 hours per week interacting with their leader, while middle managers felt their highest levels of inspiration when spending 9-10 hours per week doing so.

Leadership IQ, a leadership training and research company, compiled these results after surveying 32,410 American and Canadian executives, managers and employees from January-May 2014. Respondents were invited to complete an online assessment comprised of 127 questions, and respondents were drawn from a wide range of industries, ages, and organizational and compensation levels.

“Face-time matters for both leaders and employees alike,” notes Mark Murphy, founder and CEO of Leadership IQ. “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. 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.”

Download a complimentary copy of the study at http://www.leadershipiq.com, contact Leadership IQ at 800-814-7859 or email info(at)leadershipiq(dot)com to learn how to apply these findings in your own organization.

About Leadership IQ
Leadership IQ is a research and training firm that delivers employee engagement surveys and leadership development, which conducts one of the world’s largest leadership training and employee engagement studies. Among its key research studies are “Job Performance Not a Predictor of Employee Engagement,” “Why CEO's Get Fired,” “Why New Hires Fail” and “Don’t Expect Layoff Survivors to Be Grateful”.

Leadership IQ’s work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fast Company, U.S. News & World Report and the Washington Post, and CEO. Clients include the United Nations, Harvard Business School, Aflac, Charles Schwab, Microsoft, IBM, MasterCard, Merck, Ocean Spray, Stanford University, Transamerica and Microchip, among others. Leadership IQ is based in Atlanta, with offices in Washington, DC.

For more information, visit http://www.LeadershipIQ.com.

About Mark Murphy
Leadership IQ founder and CEO Mark Murphy is the New York Times bestselling author of Hundred Percenters: Challenge Your People to Give It Their All and They’ll Give You Even More. Murphy’s other books included Hiring for Attitude (selected as a top business book by CNBC), Hundred Percenters, HARD Goals, and The Deadly Sins of Employee Retention. Mark has been a guest on CBS Sunday Morning, ABC’s 20/20, Fox Business News, CNN International and NPR.

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