Fostering a Strong Employee-Manager Relationship

Great managers can make a huge impact on employee morale, engagement and retention. When people work for someone they trust, respect and get along with professionally, they are less likely to leave – even when given the chance to make more money.

A 2017 report by human capital management firm Ultimate Software revealed that over half of respondents were willing to turn down a 10% raise to stay with a great boss. Additionally, 93% of respondents stated, “trust in their direct boss is essential to staying satisfied at work,” according to a 2017 press release.

It’s clear the employee-manager relationship plays a key role in performance, satisfaction and loyalty. How can managers and employees create and maintain a professional and productive relationship?

Managers and Employees: How Can You Strengthen Your Relationship?

Respect is vital in any relationship; however, its role within the manager-employee relationship has a direct effect on job satisfaction. According to SHRM’s annual Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey, respectful treatment of all employees at all levels received the largest percentage of respondents for three years in a row. Additionally, trust between senior management and employees is increasing in importance, rising by six percentage points in 2017 as compared to 2015, SHRM reports.

Below are several tips that can help foster respect and trust within a manager-employee relationship.

Increase Awareness

When all parties strive to become more self-aware, positive changes can take place, including enhancing understanding, building empathy and improving emotional intelligence. Self-awareness – having the ability to recognize your emotions and behaviors – allows managers and employees to enhance problem-solving abilities and relationships, SHRM reports.

There are several exercises you can do to become more self-aware. According to a 2015 article by Psychology Today, seeking honest feedback, evaluating your life story (the people, place and events that have shaped who you are) and creating a habit of self-reflection can help you understand your self-image or how others perceive you.

Encourage Engagement

It’s important to ask for honest opinions, ideas and overall feedback. Engaged employees are more likely to stick around and feel comfortable sharing new and unusual problem-solving ideas.

For managers and employees, creating a culture of continuous feedback is key to creating an engaging workforce. By doing so, both parties get a better understanding of motivations, goals and overall happiness at work. According to a 2015 article in Forbes, leaders can enhance engagement by sharing leadership success with the rest of the team or department, show loyalty toward your employees, and empower your employees by showing support and helping build their confidence to try something new.

Develop a Culture of Transparency

Not every work-related situation calls for complete transparency, but being open and honest can help people overcome disagreements, organizational challenges and work bias.

Managers and employees can both encourage openness in the office by providing real-time feedback, creating open-door policies (even if during set times) and allowing anonymous input. Organizations and departments can even encourage openness by promoting visibility and making employees feel safe when speaking out, according to SHRM.

By fostering a strong employee-manager relationship, leaders can not only make a positive impact on the business but create a workplace where people feel appreciated and effective.

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