Are Managers Friendly with Employees? Should They Be?



Do your employees socialize with their bosses? Meet their spouses and kids? Talk about personal things? Exercise with them? Buy them gifts?

More than 1 in 3 U.S. workers (38 percent) report that they've asked their boss for advice about a personal issue, according to a recent survey by Olivet Nazarene University. Nearly 1 in 3 (29 percent) say their boss has asked them for advice about a personal issue. Another 28 percent say they text their bosses about issues not related to work. And nearly 3 in 4 (74 percent) of people who say they are "very happy" at work have met their boss's significant other.

"The most fulfilling relationships I have had with leaders come when they know me and my family on a personal level, and vice versa," said Jessica Schaeffer, senior director for LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruiting firm based in Chicago. "It helps me relate to them [and] empathize, and [we] work better together. People want connection. Connection leads to happiness and satisfaction."

The study authors wanted to understand just how close workers are to their bosses. From May 7 through May 18, they asked 3,000 full-time U.S. employees these questions: "What's a normal level of closeness in the modern American workplace? What constitutes that closeness? And how do things vary across industries?"

Personal Phone Numbers, Gift-Giving

The most common connection between bosses and their employees is the exchange of personal phone numbers. Seven out of 10 U.S. workers have their boss's personal phone number, the survey found.

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