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Redefining the Manager-Employee Relationship


Good working relationships between managers and employees can play an impactful role in improving employee engagement levels. A study by Gallup found that 70% of the variance in employee engagement score is due to the relationship between managers and employees. Moreover, one in two employees that leave their job cite the manager as one of the reasons they quit.

In contrast, a good leader can improve employee engagement and performance. One study suggested that employees with a close working relationship with a manager were more likely to have faith in their leadership. Moreover, the employees had a better outlook on their work. Here are some key actions that can help redefine your relationship with your employees.

1) Have frequent feedback conversations with your employees

One easy way to have a good relationship with your employees is to be directly involved. Address their questions and concerns. Try and check-in with them often to give feedback or see how a project is coming along. These check-ins need not be long, but they will greatly impact the employee’s perception of their work.

“An employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.” – Bob Nelson

2) Recognize and value an employee’s work

Acknowledgment should extend down from the team level to the individual level. Nothing feels worse than being ignored – and employees will feel this way if you rarely value their progress and hard work. A simple ‘thank you’ or ‘good job’ can increase employee engagement, motivation, and productivity.

3) Be approachable and remain accessible

A survey by Oracle found that only 47% of respondents believed that their leaders are available and approachable. Availability and accessibility will look different to each leader – such as weekly team meetings, regular drop-ins, and/or instant message. Talk to your employees and see what works for them.

It is also important to note that with an increase of more remote workers, being approachable and available is becoming more critical in this workplace today than before. It’s common for remote workers to feel a greater disconnect from company leadership than non-remote workers. Remember to check-in with your remote workers often.

4) Avoid being seen as a “friend” by employees

You want your employees to like you, but also to respect you. Being too friendly can make it hard to have those tough conversations with your employees. Strike a balance between the personal and professional.

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