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Corner Office Disconnect: My Boss Doesn’t Get My Job At All

The above title is a common complaint heard all over offices across the globe. Of course, the boss and/or leader has to be a little different from the employee but there is a pretty big disconnect in empathy in today’s work world between the corner office and the cubicle.

The DorobekINSIDER sat down with Dr. Todd Thomas, Professor of Leadership at the DeVos Graduate School of Management, Northwood Universityto see why divide is so vast and how the modern leader can close the gap.

In the first half of his interview, Dr. Thomas talked about how leaders need to be more active in trying to connected with the employee experience. With out a concentrated effort a leader will inevitably lose touch with what it’s like to be an employee.
Todd Thomas DorobekINSIDER Interview Clip 1 by cdorobek

Telling a boss s/he needs to be more in touch with employees is easy, but making it happen and making it sincere are extremely difficult. Listen to Dr. Thomas’ tips on how to make the connection with your employees meaningful and fruitful.
Todd Thomas DorobekINSIDER Interview Clip 2 by cdorobek

To listen to Dr. Thomas’ full interview you can catch the full radio show at GovLoop Insights or your can subscribe to our itunes channel.

What could your boss do to better connect with you?

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Profile Photo David Dejewski

Dr. Thomas introduces in the first recording the various levels of management and the fact that “the world changes” at each new level. I completely agree with this. I’ve experienced it myself.

After a manager has climbed through a few layers, the challenge is no longer simple point-to-point connection between “boss” and “employee.” There are layers. Important and vital layers. These layers need to be empowered and comfortable with the process.

For example, a functional manager (like a CIO) may have to go through their manager of managers AND the managers that the manager of managers is managing in order to make a direct connection with employees. We spend an awful lot of time and energy building trust with and confidence in our management team. I’m curious how to maintain that trust and confidence if or when the boss’s boss’s boss decides to bypass the chain of command and connect directly with individual employees.

It seems to me that this type of connection could open the door to favoritism, making end-runs around the management system, and sending a message that the “big boss” doesn’t trust his/her direct reports.True or not, there are perceptions.

I like what I heard in the audios, but it feels like something is missing. There’s more to creating a culture that supports this kind of connection than having the “boss” climb out of the ivory tower to go on sales calls with employees. I’d be interested in hearing the rest of the story.

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