SURVEY SAYS: Communicating with the Boss

June 30, 2014 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A survey we covered last week showed a correlation between positive ratings of bosses and open communication.
By PS

So, I asked NewsDash readers, “How and how much does your boss communicate with you, and is that satisfactory to you?”

Forty-four percent of responding readers described themselves as being in non-management/non-supervisory positions, while 15% indicated they are in supervisory/team leader positions, 31% are middle management and 10% are upper management.

More than 38% of respondents said their bosses communicate with them more than once a day, and 11.5% said their bosses communicate with them once a day. Nearly 31% of respondents’ bosses communicate with them several times per week, while 9.6% of readers reported their bosses communicate with them once a week. Another 9.6% said their bosses communicate with them less than once a week.

When the boss communicates with them, for the majority of respondents (55.8%) it is mostly in person with them directly. Nearly 6% said their bosses communicate with them mostly in meetings with their team or another group. More than 13% reported most of the boss’s communications with them are by email directly to them and 15.4% said communications are mostly via email directed to them and others. For 7.7% of responding readers, communications from the boss are mostly by phone directly to them, and 1.9% reported their bosses communicate with them mostly in written communication directed to them. No one said their bosses communicate mostly via conference call with their team or others or in written communications to them and others.

The majority of responding readers rate their bosses’ communications with them as either somewhat satisfactory (25.5%) or very satisfactory (29.4%). Nearly 14% said it was neither or they had no opinion. The same number (15.7% each) rated their bosses’ communications with them as somewhat unsatisfactory or very unsatisfactory.

In verbatim responses, readers shared satisfaction with their bosses, “She is great to work with! Constant flow of ideas back and forth and she takes the hit when the higher ups get cranky.” and well as dissatisfaction, “The only time I hear from my boss is when it is negative or it is directed to the team. She has a blunt way of saying things, so most of the time, I am happy to have no communication with her.” Some offered lessons for bosses, “Meetings of the team twice a day brought moral DOWN, not up!” and “Bosses have no idea how much influence they have on the temperament of the workforce (including me). Here's the question I'd post for all bosses; when you're out of the office, are people happy or disappointed? My guess is you don't know just how happy people are when you take vacation.” But, Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “As long as I think of her as my crazy aunt whom I need to be nice to for my mother's sake, all is good.”

A big thank you to everyone who participated in our survey!

Verbatim

So sad that this is what I landed in. Can't wait to find a position where the boss is not a coward.

She is great to work with! Constant flow of ideas back and forth and she takes the hit when the higher ups get cranky. What's not to love!

She is in another state so face-to-face communication is not possible but I'm sure she would do so were we in the same office. She is always reasonable in tone and content and respectful to me. She keeps me informed of company business that I should know about. For problems she offers suggestions for solutions and doesn't get angry because there is a problem. She was brought in as an extra layer between me and my prior boss which I resented at the time. I WAS WRONG - this is so much better!!

Basically we're on the same page, but she does get long-winded from time-to-time...which irritates me because I have so much to do and she's keeping me from doing it.

My boss is a great communicator, but has way too much on her plate. Companies keep asking managers to carry their own full workloads on top of their managerial duties. My most effective managers throughout my careers are those who do not have a full plate of their own work.

She never lets me know when she'll be out of the office, but she tells others on my team. I always have to ask them where she is... But then, she doesn't like me, so.....

Communication with my boss could be vastly improved if he employed tact in his delivery.

Another example of HR not practicing what it preaches!

We are a small entity of a larger company. We are the corporate and since there are few of us in this office, we have a great relationship and working environment.

Verbatim (cont.)

I am very lucky. My boss is there whenever I need her but she lets me do my job uninterrupted. It's great working for someone who trusts me (something I haven't always been so lucky to have).

Our entire upper management team does a very POOR job of communication. Our year end results each year reflect POOR management.

My boss' primary focus is sales. Getting him to focus on my area (administration) is difficult.

My Manager is in St. Paul, MN, and I'm in Kentucky. Our usual contact is e-mail or phone. The only times we meet in person is at opening and closing of audits since the budget does not allow for us to have face to face meetings.

She is very up-front and direct, but not in an intimidating way. I appreciate knowing exactly what is on her mind.

As long as I think of her as my crazy aunt whom I need to be nice to for my mother's sake, all is good.....

Boss wants to be liked so isn't always as direct as he should be. Tends to blame others for miscommunication (not mistakes, he is very supportive there).

I have a great boss. I'm lucky.

My boss is always too "busy" to communicate effectively. I sadly often find out things that I should know to do my job effectively from employees outside of my department. He needs to learn the skill of delegation as well as effective communication.

It's a hands-off situation, but he is available if needed via telephone.

Verbatim (cont.)

I try to stay away from him. I get more work done that way.

The only time I hear from my boss is when it is negative or it is directed to the team. She rarely even says hi to me if we pass in the aisles. She has favorites, among whom I am not one. She has a blunt way of saying things, so most of the time, I am happy to have no communication with her.

I often hear of issues or events before my boss tells me about them - I wish his conversations with me were more timely, and that he trusted me with confidential information, as others trust me with confidential/sensitive information

He does not like have any confrontation and is very poor at helping me gain the experience to be a better manager.

Never having worked for a large company, I had not appreciated how wide open communication between the "higher-ups" and me is, until you asked. I have a comfortable degree of autonomy, yet input and backup are readily available.

Here's how NOT to solve a communication problem: an employee survey at my large company revealed that some people complained that their bosses "were never available." So the solution from upper management was mandatory staff meetings TWICE A DAY! All that did was drag the team members away from what they were doing to hear the boss say, "Ok, so-and-so is out and Employee X is covering for him, I have 2 meetings today, one at 11 and one at 2, and I'm leaving at 5. Anyone have anything they'd like to add? Anyone need help with anything?" Meetings of the team twice a day brought moral DOWN, not up! Everyone stop what you're doing and focus on The Boss! Ugh!

I've never done it in my management career and thought I'd never say/see/experience it myself with my employer, but now that I've hit a certain "milestone" I'm still on the team but at the end of bench. Strange, being there but not, kind of like the player to be named later - only on a plaque I don't want.

Bosses have no idea how much influence they have on the temperament of the workforce (including me). Here's the question I'd post for all bosses; when you're out of the office, are people happy or disappointed? My guess is you don't know just how happy people are when you take vacation....

 

NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.

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