people in bubbleA new study,“Optimal Hours with the Boss,” from Leadership IQ has revealed that most workers only spend half the time they should be spending with their boss. Employees who spend optimal time—6 hours per week—interacting with their direct supervisor/manager are 29 percent more inspired, 30 percent more engaged, 16 percent more innovative and 15 percent more intrinsically motivated than those who spend only one hour per week, the study found.

The survey of more than 32,000 American and Canadian executives, managers and employees also found that excessive time with one’s boss can have the opposite effect. When people spend more than six hours per week interacting with their boss, the study showed diminishing returns in the areas of building inspiration, engagement and motivation. The only exception the study found was with innovation, which shows spikes at 11-15 hours, and again at 20+ hours spent with an employee’s boss.

Other highlights of the survey include:

  • Face-to-face and email are the most common forms of communication between boss and employee. For employees who only spend 1 hour per week interacting with their boss, 33 percent of that time is spent in face-to-face interaction and 42 percent is spent via email. Workers who spend 6 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.
  • Executives experienced their highest levels of inspiration when spending 7-8 hours per week interacting with their managers.
  • Middle managers felt their highest levels of inspiration when spending 9-10 hours per week with their boss.

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

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