Bosses Understand Employee Reality FAR Less than They Think

Quick poll – if you’re a manager, how in touch do you think you are with your team members’ day to day reality? 50 percent? 80 percent?

Employees – how in touch are your managers really with what you do every day?

SmartBrief on Leadership recently ran back-to-back SmartPulse polls (manager survey and employee survey) asking each group exactly that question. The results, compared side by side, are dramatically different (if perhaps not all that surprising).

Notice that nearly 61 percent differential in employee vs. manager perception on bosses’ true lack of awareness of employees’ day-to-day reality.

The good news is, there is fairly consistent agreement for “Well” and “Very Well,” but clearly half of managers need to get off of their “I’m the best manager in the world” pedestal and get into the work more with their team members.

What managers need to do

Let’s be crystal clear: I’m not advocating micromanaging. Far from it. I’m strongly recommending managers open their eyes and their doors to the good work employees are producing every day and, critically, the areas where employees may be simply making progress on long, arduous projects.

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Then managers need to go one step farther and formally recognize and appreciate those efforts and achievements – provide encouragement and support so progress can continue while significantly praising final results.

I have to believe ignoring progress is a major part of the disconnect reflected in the chart above. Factor in the Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer research showing making progress as the number one (by far) employee motivator and managers cannot deny the importance of this recommendation.

Where do you (or your managers) fall in the chart above?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at


1 Comment on “Bosses Understand Employee Reality FAR Less than They Think

  1. Thanks Derek.  This is great.  I have been saying this in a slightly different way for awhile now, at The CARE Movement. Most leaders, managers, CEO’s need to work on losing the ego, listening and the CARE principles; Communicate, Appreciate, Respect, Encourage.  Its basic, Its simple and it Works !  Take CARE.


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