Far too often blame gets placed solely on the manager if things aren’t going well for his/her department or working group.  Of course, managers are responsible for their team, however, they alone cannot ensure success. The entire team must contribute as well.

Great managers must know how to create a workplace environment where employees are engaged so their respective talents and contributions can be maximized.  When employees are engaged and properly motivated, they are more productive, and the department is more successful. Engaged employees will be at work on time and prepared to start the day, take fewer sick days, and remain with the company for a longer period of time; helping to reduce costly turnover.

Employer Relationship Management – Tips for Success

So now what.  You have a great manager.  He has hired a great team and helped to create a positive work environment.  Sounds like all the ingredients for success are in place, but let’s consider the following: 

  • Build Rapport – A company or working group of employees is only as sound as the foundation it is built upon.  This starts with trust; trust between the manager and his team is crucial. The building blocks for establishing trust include open communication, honesty and mutual respect.
  • Conduct One-on-One Meetings – Regular one on one meetings between a manager and an employee are helpful in developing a good working relationship, establishing trust and facilitating cooperation.  These impromptu and casual meetings can provide a time to actively listen to one another; helping to avoid problems and obstacles, fix problems, share ideas, and exchange feedback.
  • Avoid Isolating the Manager – Yes, he is the “manager”, but also a member of the team.  If the team’s “spirit” gets lost, or an “us vs them” mentality sets in then the team not only becomes less effective, but it’s no longer a fun place to work (yes, work can be rewarding and fun at times). Too often the blame for poor relationships is laid solely at the feet of the manger, but it takes everyone to make it work.
  • Think of a Wheel – To roll smoothly, a wheel it must have all the spokes in place and be round or it simply won’t work.  If a piece of the wheel is missing, it won’t get very far, and neither will a working group if everyone is not contributing. In the case of the manger, he must be actively involved in the day to day tasks, and know what is going on with the workflow, etc.  He should not be locked away in his office overwhelmed with administrative tasks causing him to be removed and out of touch with his employees. At the same time, team members should not place a wall between themselves and their manager, placing all or the responsibility for reaching out solely on his shoulders.  
  • Get to Know and Understand Each Other – It is very helpful to the manager and the team if they are able to understand one another’s strengths and weaknesses.  It is important the manager feel welcome. For example, employees might include him in conversations, lunches, coworker outings, etc. These small initiatives can definitely help to strengthen working relationships.

The bottom line is while every team needs a coach, a leader, a manager, let’s not forget it is still a team effort.  Just because you have the title of manager, that doesn’t mean you are a one man show. Every team member can be as good as his manager and every manager can be as good as his team.

This article was written by Nancy J Smith, employee relations specialist at the Hutchison group. Over the past 30 years Hutchison Group consultants have helped many of the world’s best companies address a wide range of employee and labor relations issues. Working with management, employees and union leaders, we help develop practical solutions to manage costs, improve productivity and promote teamwork. For more information about our services, please visit our web page at www.hutchgrp.com