When I worked for the big company, I admit I wanted attention. I wanted my boss and my peers to know what I was working on and to see what I accomplished.
I was a lot younger then, but I think it is just human nature. If we are doing work for someone we want to know that they care that the work gets done and that they notice if it is done well.
Before Social Media
Back when I was in corporate America, social media didn’t exist. We couldn’t go out to the masses for a little attention. Today, it is amazing how many people are seeking attention and connection during work time. I wrote about that here. I think part of the reason is because they aren’t getting face time with their bosses.
If they are engaged with their boss on the important work they are doing, I am sure the outside distractions wouldn’t suck them in.
Why Do Employees Want Your Attention?
Back in the old days we wanted and needed face time with our boss. There were several reasons face time was important to me:
1. I wanted to make sure I was working on the highest priority. Having my boss nod his head as I reviewed my priorities gave me a sense of purpose and direction.
2. I wanted to learn from my boss. He was the seasoned professional. I was the sponge. I wanted to bask in his words of wisdom. (If you think your boss is an idiot, I would remind you that he is still higher than you. He must know something you can learn.)
3. I wanted to bounce problems and solutions off of someone who had the same vested interest in the outcome that I did. Sorry your spouse doesn’t quite understand the impact of the project coming in on time and in budget.
4. I wanted someone to impress. Okay, maybe I had a pride problem. But studies show that appreciation is a higher motivator than even salary. We want our boss to know what we are working on and to acknowledge it. Really bosses, we do!
5. I wanted to connect. Usually the boss is the one who hires the employee. You are the one the employee connected with. You are the one they wanted to work with. Now they are on board and they never see or talk to you. I doubt you said in the interview, “Hey it is nice meeting you. Once you are on board you won’t interact with me ever again!”
Employees notice the boss. They look up when you enter the room. They listen when you talk. They want to be around you. They drop your name when they are with peers. They talk to their spouses about you when they get home. You are important to them.
They wonder if you notice them. They wonder if they are important to you.