When compared to time spent with relatives, children, customers, colleagues, or bosses, time spent with friends is rated as being the most enjoyable, according to a recent study. On average, time spent with a friend ranks even higher than time spent with your spouse. How could that be?
Well, the research did have some logic behind it. For example, if you were in the midst of rushing your daughter to school or changing your son's dirty diaper, you might have been asked to report how happy you were at that moment. In contrast, you might have been asked to recall a moment with a friend when you were relaxing or having a drink together. Perhaps, the most troubling was the bottom of this 'people we enjoy being with' list.
Clients and customers were third from the bottom; co-workers were second to last, followed by bosses, who were dead last. Interacting with the boss was also rated, as being less enjoyable than cleaning the house.
Undoubtedly, there are thousands of managers in the workplace who have no inclination towards the development of other people. Most of us have had a boss like this at one point or another. They make you miserable, less productive, and even diminish your physical health. But we have also found thousands of exceptional managers who have the opposite effect, and they have something in common: these great managers care about each of their employees and treat them like real human beings, rather than just a means to an end.
Herein lies one of the secrets we have learned from top managers (and from great teachers, for that matter): they get to know each person as an individual, and they tailor their management styles to each employee's preferences. We all want and need managers who care about our lives beyond the workplace.
Gallup Research has asked more than eight million people to respond to the statement 'My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person' and has found that people who agree with this statement:
• Are more likely to stay on with their respective organizations;
• Have more engaged customers and;
• Are more productive.
If you are fortunate enough to have had a manager who treated you like a friend and cared about your personal life, you probably understand the difference this type or genuine friendship can make. The best managers in the world are not only experts in systems, processes, and technical competencies - they are experts in your life. And, because of this, they increase your engagement and productivity at work.
All employees deserve a manager whom they can truly call a friend, or at least a manager who cares about their general well-being. The bottom line is that we spend roughly 50 percent more time with our customers, co-workers, and bosses, than we do with our friends, children, and other relatives combined. If you want to be happier and more engaged at work, consider developing a few strong friendships at the office, maybe even one with your boss.