While managers and employees are better off as colleagues than friends, it’s still important to develop strong relationships between the two sides. Here are five strategies for improving the employee-manager relationship.
Schedule Regular One-on-One Check-Ins
This is where positive manager-employee relationships begin. Sitting down face-to-face on a weekly or monthly basis to discuss ideas, solve problems, and track goal progress. These meetings will make employees feel more comfortable about asking for help and give the manager a better understanding of the unique personalities and motivations of their team members.
Ask for Feedback
Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Just like employees need to know what they’re doing well and where they can improve, the manager needs to hear what’s working and what’s not within the team or department. Ask what you as a manager can do to make their job easier/help them be more effective. Ask what changes they would like to see within processes or policies. Employees will be much more likely to stick with a company when they feel their voices are being heard.
Recognize Great Work and Coach Often
One of the worst things a manager can do is take credit for their teams’ work. Managers should make a point to publicly praise employees for specific projects, ideas, successes, etc. Showing employees that you recognize and appreciate their effort goes a long way towards building morale.
Praising employees will also make them more open to constructive feedback. Striking that balance between positive and negative will show employees that the constructive feedback comes from an objective, unbiased place.
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Focus on Career Development
Show employees that you’re invested in their growth and that you want to help them move up the ladder. If people feel they’re stuck in a dead-end job—and their manager isn’t doing anything about it—it won’t be long before they’re sending out resumes and cover letters. Use check-in meetings to discuss employees’ long-term career goals and chart a course to help them get there.
Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Employees will be much more likely to resent management if they feel they’re on the clock 24/7. People want to work for a company that respects their life outside the office, and they’ll be quick to leave if another organization offers that balance.
So, let employees leave work at work. Don’t bombard them with late-night or weekend emails. Don’t instant message them when they’re not in the office. Allow employees to work remotely when possible. And if your team has hustled and stayed late all week to finish a project, let them take a long lunch or head home a little early on Friday afternoon. They’ll appreciate it, and it’ll encourage them to work just as hard on the next project.
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