My theme for this month is the boss/employee relationship. As an executive coach, I work primarily with the person who makes the final decisions in the business; however, often it takes two to make or break a relationship. Often times, I find that supervisors and employees make assumptions about the other party. I thought I would take a moment to consider BOTH roles and how to improve communication between them.
For the employers…
What’s the one thing a boss ought to do for their employees? Think about that for a moment, then watch my YouTube clip.
It’s true that a positive relationship will garner positive results. However, let me pose a few question: Is your “positive” relationship with your employees actually positive? Do you genuinely care about your employees outside of the office? If they have a problem at home, are you there for them? Not in the sense as their best friend or advice guru, but if you notice their attitude or demeanor has changed do you check in to ensure everything is all right? As a boss, you may not be responsible for their lives outside of the office, but by caring for your employees on a personal level, you can improve overall morale and increase productivity. People enjoy working for someone who genuinely cares for them.
In addition to the emotional side, simply investing in employees’ professional development is going to increase their trust in you. Sending staff to seminars, conferences, workshops– even just buying them a book– builds rapport with them and strengthens the boss/employee relationship.
Finally, meeting with an employee regularly allows for a more candid conversation about concerns and ideas for your company/department. Many times the boss isn’t running at the front lines of a business and may need to proactively seek new ideas from staff during formal meetings or happenstance connections.
For the employees…
It’s important to keep the lines of communication open. You must be able to talk to your supervisor about problems or concerns in the workplace rather than assume he or she does not care. Just the same as you are busy at work, so is your supervisor. All too often employees complain to co-workers and expect something to change. If you talk candidly, but with professionalism, to your supervisor, frequently change may take place. And even if it doesn’t, you will have the peace of mind that your boss knew about the situation.
Secondly, don’t just complain. Tell the boss what you do like about your job when you are speaking to him/her. When a change is made, make sure your boss knows that you appreciate it, especially if you may have provided the seed idea for that change. If you do nothing but complain, you will become known as a complainer and, more often than not, you’ll be ignored.
Finally, if you find out about a professional development opportunity, ask your boss if you may attend. However, don’t just make an approach and ask for $1000 for a trip to San Antonio. You have to approach it in much the same way as you would if you were asking for a raise. Speak to what you have done, and what you would like to do, and why this particular trip would help both you AND the company. Remember, it has to be mutually beneficial.
Remember that you don’t have a positive relationship if there is no relationship. Be there for your each other and mutually benefit from the relationship.