5 Reasons to Make Face Time With Your Employee

Oct 19, 2011, Written by Sue Miley

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….

They wonder if you notice them. They wonder if they are important to you.

Are they?

Reader Interactions


  1. David Rupert says

    I have worked for both types of managers. And the ones who are involved — not sitting behind board room meetings or telecons – but rather, just walking around, were the best. Just seeing the boss is enough for me.

    Great post…again!

    • S_Miley says

      Hey David—I have worked for both kinds and unfortunately been both kinds…once I aligned myself to be the kind of boss that I wanted to work for it all came together! Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. Loren Pinilis says

    I’ve been in a few environments where I wanted attention from my boss. In my case, it was because there was no real personal accountability for results. When things went well, the team was praised. When things didn’t go well, the team was blamed. It doesn’t sound like a horrible situation, but it led to many people just slacking off. Why work hard when others would pick up your slack? If they did, everyone got praised. If they didn’t, everyone shared the blame.
    Part of the appeal of face time is a boss basically hinting that they’re watching and appreciating your efforts. The individual attention has the potential to lead to individual encouragement, which feels much more real and personal than a blanket statement pointed at the team.

    • S_Miley says

      Your comment made me think of another situation that bosses can do that work against their desire to motivate and appreciate. Have you ever received a performance review or even a note for your boss that said great job or heard you are doing amazing things….yet the boss has no idea of any details. They are so vague, you don’t really believe they even know what they are thanking you for. The appreciation just runs hollow then! I agree with you Loren that individual appreciation is a huge encouragement!

  3. Chris Patton says

    I had an interesting experience with this the other day. I got some too-good-to-be-true news the other day. I questioned the controller because I really could not believe the numbers! When he said he had validated the numbers, I dropped my head into my hands in (pleasantly surprised) confusion, trying to think of why it looked so good!

    That was the exact moment my Sales Director walked by and looked in my office. He saw the Controller, the reports, and my head in my hands! He was wrecked for the next several hours! I never saw him walk by.

    Hours later, I shared the good news and I thought he was going to come across the desk at me! He was mad/excited/confused/relieved! He truly thought I was devastated by the results and he was scared to death! I was clueless because I forgot what you said above, “Employees notice the boss.”

    We have to always assume they are watching AND we have to communicate often enough (face to face, if possible) to avoid misunderstandings!

    I did apologize to him and told him I would be more careful with my gestures!

    Great post, Sue!

    • S_Miley says

      What an awesome story Chris! And even more wonderful that it has a happy ending! It also reveals how easy it is to be misunderstood. Congratulations on your great results!

  4. Sunnie says

    “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!”
    4a. And we want you to acknowledge our hard work and dedication publically instead of taking all the credit.
    I’m not sure if that’s Christlike, but right now, I’m really having a problem with that. I covet your prayers as I try to figure it out!

  5. MikeH says

    @Sunnie: The boss acknowledging our work does have two consequences: it lets us see what is the right thing to do, and it lets others see what is the right thing to do. Whether it’s a negative consequence or not depends on our heart. Appreciation is part of pinning the roses – acknowledging who has done what. Pride sneaks in when we fail to remember that we were given our abilities/talents AND the placing to use them, as if we had created the ability and position ourselves. We then personalize matters and we “set ourselves on high”, which really is the same as “setting ourselves up for a fall”.

    Our gifts and abilities were given to us to serve others and when we remember that, appreciation is just appropriate feedback and guidance. It still feels good, and it should; but, you’ll still be able to get your head out of the door at the end of the day so you can drive home.

    And when the temptation comes, just remember to ask yourself, “who is the ultimate source of all that I have and am, and why am I so worked up about my ‘abilities’ ?”

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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