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Inattentive supervisors on smartphones cost confidence

Inattentive supervisors on smartphones cost confidence
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Christian Boas

In the smartphone age, lower and middle management are under pressure to be available for top management at all times. But if they are constantly busy with mobile phones while talking to employees, that’s a disaster for the company. Because the employees lose confidence and question the meaning of their work, warns a work by researchers at Baylor University. As a result, employee engagement is reduced by five percent.

Boss Phubbing
In the modern world of work, supervisors often have their smartphone in sight even during face-to-face conversations, and sometimes resort to answering important e-mails and messages immediately. The Baylor team calls this “boss phubbing,” a contraction of “phone” and “snubbing,” and warns against such habits. “Phubbing is a harmful behavior. It undermines any corporate culture based on mutual respect, “says Baylor Marketing Professor James A. Roberts. That just underpins the current work.

In three surveys with a total of 413 participants, the team investigated whether employees experience phubbing and how they react to it. It has been shown that 76 percent of employees do not trust sufficiently those supervisors who ignore them because of their own mobile phone. Three-quarters of employees experience a diminished sense of purpose and security in their work. The negative effect on the company is that employees are less committed by five percent.

Hands off the smartphone
According to the researchers, a corporate culture is important in which forces such as foremen and department heads do not feel the pressure to respond immediately to e-mails and higher-level messages.

The team also advocates training to emphasize the importance of personal interaction and to explain the potential consequences of phubbing – both for supervisors and their employees.

For simple employees can also be in personal conversations also not fully present when they can be distracted by their smartphone, says Baylor Marketing Professor Meredith David.

“Developing the self-control, sticking the smartphone in favor of meaningful, distraction-free interactions with superiors and colleagues, will bring benefits that are much more important than an SMS, an unread email or a social media posting,”

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