76 Percent of Employees Get Jitters When Seeing Closed Boss’s Doors

Santa Monica, Calif. – March 4, 2009 – Employees across the country consume nearly three hours a day worrying about their job security according to a new national survey by Lynn Taylor Consulting, a firm that helps companies transform managers into more productive, trustworthy leaders through lively, research-based seminars. Bosses may be unwittingly fueling this fear by one simple action, staying behind closed doors, as 76 percent of employees say that when faced with this scenario unexpectedly, it triggers thoughts of being laid off.

“In today’s economic environment, employees are searching for every clue to determine their job fate. Too often, not enough direct input is given to employees, and so non-verbal cues are heavily relied upon,” said Lynn Taylor, a nationally renowned expert and author on workplace issues. “Managers working behind closed doors may be shutting out more than noise – they may be shutting down productivity,” she added.

Commissioned by Lynn Taylor Consulting, the U.S. study was based on telephone interviews conducted with 1,000 respondents 18 years of age or older by a national independent research firm.  The survey found that the average employee spends 2.8 hours (168.8 minutes) a day worrying about personal job concerns, such as company lay-offs and/or losing his or her job.

The survey also underscores how deep-seated these suspicions are. When asked how often they think a boss’s closed door signals lay-offs, respondents said:

Never/Don’t Know

“Changes in manager behavior, such as a closed door, more private conferences, or less direct communication all represent potential ‘exit signs’ to many employees,” said Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant (TOT): How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job (John Wiley & Sons, July 2009).

Taylor added that while managers have to deal with more sensitive personnel issues today than in previous decades, they can counter employee concerns at a critical time with more proactive communication.

“Acknowledging the astounding impact a small gesture can have on corporate productivity in tense times is a good first step. Providing your team with reassurances whenever possible will mitigate unnecessary panic and help them stay focused,” Taylor said.

“Many employees may also avoid speaking up to their bosses for fear of being shown the door, when, in fact, their ideas might boost a company’s bottom line at a time when that is sorely needed,” she said.

Underscoring this, added Taylor, is an earlier related study Lynn Taylor Consulting commissioned which revealed that 70 percent of 575 adult working professionals believe employees must be careful when “managing up” in their boss interactions, or they could risk losing their jobs.  “Managing up” was described as “proactively finding solutions to problems, consistently using good communications skills and modeling positive behavior to a boss.”

“Opening your door literally and figuratively might not only mean greater profitability. In some cases, it might also help keep the doors of your business open,” Taylor concluded.

About Lynn Taylor Consulting
Lynn Taylor is the founder of Lynn Taylor Consulting, a management consulting firm that advises companies on how to humanize the workplace. A nationally recognized expert, dynamic speaker and successful author, Taylor counsels executives on motivational, management and employment issues. She has been quoted extensively in the media and is the author of the forthcoming book, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™ (TOT); How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job(John Wiley & Sons, July 2009).  For more information, visit, or call: 1-800-454-0083.