Bosses Who Support Employees Should Not Expect Loyalty
Emotional support in the workplace is not considered grounds for commitment by employees
The research Toegel conducted proved otherwise. “Unfortunately, employees just don’t see it like that. They view emotional support as part and parcel of what their superiors do and are paid good money for,” he found. “Consequently, the shows of gratitude may never arrive – and the negativity can end up perpetuated not by the employee but by the manager, who feels terribly let down.”
Dozens of workers were interviewed in the study and asked whom they relied on for emotional support as well as how they felt about that support. Seventy-five percent of the middle managers and workers said their bosses were sources of emotional support but they did not feel the owed any type of debt for that support. One of the managers interviewed felt very let down when one of his employees resigned soon after he helped her out. “When she was turning the corner she said: ‘I’m leaving.’ I said: ‘I’m happy for you, but I feel a bit let down She said: ‘Oh, I didn’t think about that,’” he complained. “If I buy you a drink it’s sort of expected that the next time around you’ll buy me one. It’s in every element of our culture – except the workplace.”
Cass Business School’s Professor Andre Spicer thinks this is just one of the unrealistic expectations that take place in the workplace. "Our research on leadership dynamics in knowledge intensive firms shows that there are frequently mismatches between what bosses are willing to give and what employees want."
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