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Your staff might want to spend more time with you – but exactly how many hours should you spend with them before it gets too much?
According to a new study “Optimal Hours with the Boss” from Leadership IQ, the magical number is 6 hours.
It highlighted that people who spend six hours interacting with their direct leader weekly are 29% more inspired, 30% more engaged, 16% more innovative and 15% more intrinsically motivated than those who spend only one hour per week.
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.
“Face-time matters for both leaders and employees alike,” noted 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. It appears that pretty much all leadership styles must build on a foundation of spending time with employees.”
Currently, however, bosses are spending only half the amount of time required for optimal interaction – namely, approximately three hours per week.
After surveying 32,410 American and Canadian executives, managers and employees from January-May 2014, the report found that spending too much time with employees could, unfortunately, have adverse effects.
The report cautioned that 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 report stated.
“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.”