Every manager should know the value of personal relationships with employees. Building a positive and stimulating work environment is your top priority – this is what will help your workers to go that extra mile in completing tasks for their projects. Yet, many executives find it challenging to establish the balance between respect and likeability. Here are a few tips to help you develop meaningful relationships with your employees and build a positive work environment.
Actively listen to your team members
As a manager, you probably realize that sometimes the greatest ideas come from people you’d never expect to possess such an industry insight. It’s your team battling their way in the sector every day and they all bring their personal perspectives to parts of the project they’re working on. If you’re looking for strategies to improve the efficiency of specific project aspects, there’s no better source of insight than your employees.
Instead of sticking to old models, make it your job to listen to new ideas coming from employees. Allot some time each month for a brainstorming session where each person will provide suggestions for solving problems. Make sure to give their ideas a try. This is how you’ll show everyone that they’re a valuable part of the team, giving them a source of professional satisfaction and boosting their motivation.
Be open about yourself in communication
You won’t be able to build meaningful relationships with your employees if you avoid showing yourself for who you are. This doesn’t mean that you should confide your deepest secrets to workers. But, you could use meetings to share your expertise, talk about your experience and fully express your personality.
Employees will be glad to get to know you, the real you – not the authority figure you’re trying to play. You’ll make yourself look more approachable and stand a chance at gaining employees’ trust. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea or afraid that you’ll share too much, just try to prepare what you’d like to say before your meeting.
Be friendly, but not friends
It’s worth being open and honest in your communication – being friendly is key to add a touch of warmth to a workplace and motivate everyone to work hard towards achieving key business goals. But remember not to overdo it – after all, you’re their supervisor, not their friend. Being overly friendly might lead you to compromise your authority when making important decisions for the company.
Another problem you might encounter is employees who simply don’t want to build a relationship with you. Even if they don’t like to engage socially in office life, you might eventually exclude or devaluate them – and this is a straight road to hurting the atmosphere at the office. Respect their decision, but keep them in the loop and provide support when necessary.
Create opportunities for face-to-face communication
Every effort you take to connect with the team in person helps to establish yourself as someone who genuinely cares about their professional development. While today’s technologies make it easy to communicate without any personal contact, don’t overuse them and initiate more occasions for face-to-face exchanges with employees. Be sure to maintain an open line of communication with them – ask them about their short and long-term goals or career objectives. Show them that they matter to you and cultivate these relationships.
When in doubt, refer to company culture
Before you start building a relationship with your employees, take a good look at the company culture. It will help you decide how to engage workers outside the office and create excellent opportunities for team building. If you’re not sure what employees feel comfortable with, just start small and build your way up. If the team ends up having a great time, you’ll help them grow as co-workers and effectively improve the atmosphere at the office.
As you can see, it’s definitely worth getting yourself out there and start building your relationship with the team. They’re your most precious resource in reaching project objectives – and it won’t take a lot of effort to show them what their engagement means to you.
Forging a meaningful relationship with your team can be a challenge, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to achieve it. A great and open relationship with employees will help you to build a positive work environment, which engages and inspires the team, effectively helping the company reach its key business goals.
About the author
Carol Williams is a team leader working for Florida Oranges – a fruit shipping firm. She likes to lecture on the topics of leadership and employee management.