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9 Ways Managers Can Strengthen Relationships With Employees


9 Ways Managers Can Strengthen Relationships With Employees

What's one way managers can strengthen their relationships with their employees? Why is this important to do, and why does this strategy work so well?

In this post, business leaders and members from the YEC community share how they have strengthened relationships with their employees. 

Lead By Example

I believe a good manager has to lead from the front and set an example for staff to emulate. If you want to improve productivity, be seen to be productive. If you want to improve respect within the workplace, show respect. If you need staff to work late to complete a project, work late with them. Be there with them and provide the leadership and resources they need to get the job done.

At the same time, if there are work drinks being organized, buy the first round. If you’re at a teambuilding day, take the first turn at the challenge. If the company is facing tough times, be the leader staff know they can depend on to look after them.

If staff see a manager who is invested in them and their success, they, in turn, will invest in the employer’s success.

Pratik Chaskar, Co-Founder & CTO, Spectra

Demonstrate Trust

Show them that you trust them, even if it means they will fail here and there. By that I do not mean to setup them up for failure but think back to when you started to walk. How many times did you fall down before you were able to run? Another way is to have regular check ins with your team. Learn about their families, what their hobbies are and take genuine interest in their lives.

Finally, what my first mentor taught me: "Take good care of your team and they will take good care of you, your organization and your clients."

Magnus Simonarson, President, Consultwebs

Understand Love Languages

One way managers can strengthen their relationships with their employees is to understand their employees work "love" language. For example, some employees are motivated by public praise and others would rather be recognized in private. Some employees value being in constant communication while others prefer to have set times for cadence with management. Even high performing employees can become disengaged when they feel like their style doesn't match their managers which ultimately leads to attrition. Understanding how employees tick versus using a one size fits all approach or expecting them to adapt to your style works because it makes them feel understood and valued.

Emily Nelson, Founder & Head of Growth, Ace Media Strategies

Provide Positive Feedback

Praising them with positive feedback can go along way when it comes to building and strengthening your relationships with your employees. This is important because it gives them a sense of appreciation and accomplishment for their good work. On top of that, you can even reward them by a small gesture of gifts for their birthday or yearly employment anniversary. It doesn't need to be big, it just need to be something meaningful about them. A small gesture of a birthday card with a joke or even a simple birthday cake will assure a stronger relationship between a manager and an employee.

Fritz Colcol, CEO, Simply Thalia

Head To a Neutral Space

Routine positive feedback is essential to building relationships. Make sure the sessions are in a neutral space, consider out of office, so the hierarchy is less apparent. We have events and team building regularly out of the office and spending time outside the confines of projects, walls, and communication platforms, makes feedback more impactful because it is less productivity driven and more connection. Routine feedback should not be a strict discussion of productivity or it can be dreaded and dehumanize the connection between manager and team member. Human, routine feedback, in a neutral, even fun, location is a way that managers can build trust and strengthen relationships.

Matthew Capala, CEO, Alphametic

Meaningful Mentorship

You can significantly strengthen your relationships with employees by focusing on meaningful mentorship and constructive performance evaluations that genuinely add value. By providing guidance, encouraging regular check-ins, and offering career development opportunities, as a manager you demonstrate a genuine interest in each employee's professional growth. Constructive evaluations should emphasize growth, include two-way feedback, and offer actionable advice, shifting the focus from past performance to future potential. Recognizing achievements regularly and valuing employee input on decisions fosters a culture of appreciation and engagement. This approach not only boosts morale but also encourages a sense of ownership and involvement, leading to a more motivated and productive team.

Anna Anisin, Founder, Data Science Salon 

Prioritize Mental Health

Managers can strengthen relationships with employees by prioritizing mental health and work-life balance. Show employees that they are valued beyond their output. Foster a supportive and understanding workplace environment. Emphasize mental health and work-life balance. All of these changes can lead to increased job satisfaction, lower turnover rates, and higher productivity, as employees feel more balanced, valued, and less prone to burnout.

Jack Perkins, Founder and CEO, CFO Hub

Frequently Ask For Feedback

If you want to improve your relationship with employees, frequently ask for their feedback. Managers can get into the habit of simply talking and broadcasting information. When you ask questions and request feedback, you're showing employees that you care about their opinions. You can do this in a number of ways, such as meetings and one-on-one conversations. You can also provide other channels for feedback, such as a Slack channel or a similar platform. The important thing is that you really listen and make an effort to take people's needs into consideration. When someone raises a helpful point, acknowledge this, both to the person directly and publicly. For example, you might say at the next meeting, "I want to thank Mary for suggesting this policy/pointing out this challenge."

Kalin Kassabov, Founder, CEO, ProTexting

Acknowledge Good Work

For managers to improve their relationships with employees, it's crucial to listen and sincerely acknowledge good work. Saying "you're appreciated" is not common in management, but it's a simple message employees often need. It conveys recognition and gratitude, signaling that an employee's presence and efforts are valued and noticed. These words translate to "I see you" and "I'm glad you are here. You're existence matters to me and you're doing well."

Givona Sandiford, CEO & Founder, Melospeech Inc.

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