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Supervisors failing with employees

According to a new study by Leadership IQ, 66% of employees say they have too little interaction with their boss. And as an indication that this could be driven by the recession, this number is up from 53% in May 2008, the last time this study was conducted.

A Leadership IQ press release states, “But employees don’t just want warm-and-fuzzy interactions. While 67% of employees say they get too little positive feedback, 51% also say they get too little constructive criticism from their boss. Perhaps most troubling is that employees who said they didn’t get enough feedback were 43% less likely to recommend their company to others as a great organization to work for.”

This study revealed that it’s not just the amount of feedback that is lacking. Fifty-three percent of employees say that when their boss does praise excellent performance, the feedback does not provide enough useful information to help them repeat it. And 65% of employees say that when their boss criticizes poor performance, they don’t provide enough useful information to help employees correct the issue.”

Faced with more responsibilities and added stress during the economic crisis, supervisors find it difficult to give feedback and find time to address the emotional needs of their employees. It’s easy to rationalize that other tasks are more important when a tight job market reduces the possibility of losing talented employees.

However, according to Carl E. Van Horn, professor and director of the John I. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., a lasting effect of the recession will be that workers of all ages will emerge poorer and much less loyal. “Employees will be less likely to be loyal, more skeptical from what they hear from managers, less likely to take risks and more likely to seek secure employment,” he says.

Mark Murphy, Chairman of Leadership IQ notes that supervisors need to focus on giving a lot more feedback and feedback that is useful. “If the feedback doesn’t help employees improve poor performance or repeat great performance, then it’s not worth the breath it took to utter it,” he says.