Based on the survey prepared by RHI, a good boss is a person who has developed good relationships with his or her employees. Leaders should communicate with their employees so they can develop trust, familiarity and a connection that will help employees improve, says Marilyn Bird, regional vice president of RHI.
One reason that employees were less satisfied with company leaders is that it’s harder for leaders to develop the communication and face-to-face time required to create the relationships employees desire, says Bird.
Smart Business spoke with Bird about how people at any level of management can improve their relationships with employees, what qualities employees look for in leaders and the importance of being a good boss.
Do you feel employees look for the same qualities in company managers as they do in company presidents?
When it comes to leadership, it appears that employees are looking for similar qualities at all levels and hold leaders and presidents to equal standards. According to the survey, employees do not feel they have as good a relationship with company executives as they do with their direct managers. This response may reflect the emphasis being placed on face-to-face interaction and communication time shared with leaders. Employees have more of this personal time with their direct managers and therefore may simply feel closer to the managers they communicate with daily. Respondents voiced concerns that company leaders do not communicate enough and are not as visible.
How can managers improve their relationships with employees?
Frequent communication between managers and employees is critical. Employers should know their employees well enough to be a support system during a challenging time and help provide direction. Here are some tips.
Establish open lines of communication. Schedule one-on-one and team meetings regularly so that staff can contribute to business decisions. Employees want their questions, concerns and ideas to be heard, so when someone on your staff has a good suggestion, act on it.
Empower employees. Show trust in your team by giving staff the authority to make decisions. Be available when needed, but allow your staff flexibility in how they accomplish business objectives.
Stand up for employees. Support your staff when they encounter roadblocks. If someone on your team makes a mistake, avoid rushing to judgment. Instead, help the person learn from the situation and take steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Recognize achievements. Praise employees for their accomplishments and reinforce the behaviors you would like others to emulate. Low-cost rewards such as an occasional free lunch or movie passes can be highly motivational.
Provide advancement opportunities.
In addition to competitive compensation and benefits, invest in training and development programs to help employees build new skills. If budgets are tight, look for other ways to promote career development, such as a mentoring program.
How does employees’ perception of management affect the success of a business?
There is a theory that people don’t leave companies they leave people. This means employees’ perceptions are crucial to the success of the business. People are connected to their relationships at a company and are less likely to leave if those relationships are good. A good perception of management is necessary to retain current employees and attract new candidates.
Employees should feel that management is working to develop them professionally to increase their individual success, along with the company’s success. People who receive encouragement continue to improve and accomplish tasks. Without encouragement, an employee may not feel as loyal to a company.
The entire core of the business is about the relationships within the company. Performances reflect how employees feel about their jobs and the tasks presented to them on a daily basis. Keeping employees motivated and comfortable in their relationships continues the growth of both the employees and company.
What should an employee do if he or she has a bad boss?
First, take the initiative of asking for feedback. Make sure to have a clear understanding of your basic responsibilities and what your boss expects of you. Maintain regular communication with your manager and take steps to adapt to his or her work style. Continue to ask for feedback on your work, and if you need additional resources to complete a project, let your boss know.
MARILYN BIRD is vice president of the North Chicago Region of Robert Half International ( www.rhi.com), a leading staffing service specializing in accounting, finance and information technology. Reach Bird at (414) 271-4253.