Managing the Manager-Employee Relationship

Very few would argue that when it comes to maximizing employee retention and performance, nothing is more important than employee satisfaction. Therefore, it stands to reason that if your employees aren’t satisfied, you don’t have a company – or at least one that will last very long. One of the most relevant factors of employee satisfaction is the relationship between workers and their managers.

When an employee has a negative relationship with their boss – whether it’s because they struggle to communicate with them, don’t receive enough recognition, or simply don’t feel respected – the consequences are immeasurable. Employee performance will suffer, turnover will increase dramatically, and morale will decrease significantly. If the manager-employee relationship is managed properly by HR and Leadership, these detrimental outcomes can be avoided.

Find the Right Manager

Although it sounds obvious, finding the right person to fit a managerial role isn’t always as easy as people think. When searching for a new manager, it’s natural to assume that the best course of action is to hire someone who is experienced and talented in their field. While that is definitely important, there are many other characteristics that need to be considered if you want a superstar manager. When evaluating a potential candidate, ask yourself – are they a good decision maker and communicator? Do they have the emotional intelligence necessary to show empathy to those working under them? Are they passionate about the work they do and the company they work for? Do they have an attitude that will make others want to follow them? Finding someone with the right combination of traits may be challenging, but it is absolutely necessary if you want to equip your company with the best leaders out there.

Encourage Constant, Quality Communication

If an employee doesn’t feel like they can communicate with his or her manager about a problem, it could only be a matter of time before they’re out the door. Regular check-ins are a great way to set the right example for positive communication between employees and managers. It makes workers feel that their well-being is cared for, and lets them know that their manager is an open communicator who is always available if they have a problem. Employee recognition is also a vital component of positive communication. If an employee genuinely feels appreciated by their manager, their working relationship will improve considerably.

Discourage Favoritism

A common mistake made by lackluster managers is playing favorites. Yes, some employees are higher performers than others. However, if someone feels like they are not being treated equally, either because their work is not up to par or worse – because a manager has a subconscious or discriminatory bias towards them regardless of work quality – this only serves to worsen their performance and/or make them want to leave. In order to augment each employee’s potential and ensure they are working to the best of their ability, it is imperative that managers foster an atmosphere of equality and respect.

Promote Mutual Trust

Just because a manager is higher on the job ladder doesn’t mean they are truly “above” the people working for them. Employees and managers have a reciprocal relationship – managers depend on employees to do their work well and keep the organization afloat while employees depend on managers to give them guidance, support, and fair compensation. For this reason, mutual trust is key. Managers can develop trust by making sure employees aren’t overmanaged and constantly monitored, which can make them feel untrusted. Managers should also try to be forthcoming about communicating company updates so that workers always feel like they are in the loop. Employees can build trust in their managers by performing their jobs well and going above and beyond what is asked of them.

If you want to keep your employees and maintain a positive culture within your organization, you can’t afford to overlook the manager-employee relationship. If handled correctly, your employees will be happier and your company will thrive.