When it comes to making the workplace run smoothly, building a strong relationship with your employees is absolutely crucial. Employees who get on with their leaders and managers and feel that they are looked after as people rather than just workers will always tend to be more engaged, motivated, and loyal in the workplace, leading to all-round pleasant and positive workplace morale and higher levels of productivity. Employees are a lot like plants; when you give them a bright and sunny place to grow and nurture them on a daily basis, they will blossom and thrive. But if you keep them in the dark and neglect to tend to them, they’ll fail to produce. Building a strong relationship with your employees is a key investment of your time into your business and the teams that make it tick.
#1. Have an Open-Door Policy:
A manager who shuts themselves away from employees and is always out of reach is never going to be able to build a strong relationship with anyone in the business. An open-door policy lets employees know that you are always willing to speak to them whether they have questions about their work, concerns about tasks, or even personal issues that they need to make you aware of. Even better, get out of your office and into the workplace with your employees and take an active role in communicating with them and encouraging them to share with you.
#2. Spend Quality Time with Employees:
It’s not enough to be present for meetings and send out the occasional email. Building good relationships with your employees means taking the time to spend some quality time with them and really get to know them as individuals, too. Not only will this strengthen your relationships with them, but it’s also a great way to get a better chance of learning more about your employees’ hopes for the future, career goals, backgrounds, and strengths and weaknesses – the things that you simply can’t learn just from reading their CV. Volunteer your assistance on projects, take employees out for drinks after work or treat them to dinner, and celebrate birthdays in the office.
#3. Be Fair:
There’s nothing that creates more divide and negativity in the office than blatant favoritism towards other people. It can be difficult to make sure that you’re treating everybody equally when running a team when everyone has different needs, but your team will appreciate somebody who is fair and consistent. And, be open and honest about it if you do need to allow an employee special measures; whether you are allowing them more flexible working hours due to family commitments or putting measures in place due to a health condition, speaking about it with your team – without divulging any personal information of course – will ensure that everybody knows where they stand.
#3. Be Sensitive to Others:
Being a leader who is sensitive and caring when it comes to the plight of others is essential for building great relationships with your team. Nobody likes a manager who they feel is only going to make them feel worse if they go to them with an issue, whether it’s work-related or a problem from their personal life. As a leader, having a lot of empathy will go a long way when it comes to strengthening workplace relationships and earning the trust and respect of your team. Sensitivity training can be a great place to start if you are struggling with this; not everybody is naturally empathetic, so invest in your own development and allow yourself to go into it with an open mind and a desire to learn. For many employees, just seeing that you are making an effort to be more sensitive and empathetic towards them can go a very long way. Check out findcourses.com where you will find over 50 sensitivity training courses from various providers.
#4. Set Reasonable Goals and Expectations:
No matter how personable you are or how well you get on with your employees on a friendly level, you are going to get disgruntled employees if you set goals or have expectations that are too high or too unreasonable. Whilst it’s important to set goals and have expectations to ensure that things get done, never ask employees to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself – you are not setting yourself up for a good relationship with them if you are asking the impossible. And in order to ensure that the goals you are setting are reasonable, you should communicate with employees regularly. Involve them in your train of thought when it comes to setting goals and includes their input and ideas – after all, they are the people who are going to be working towards it in the end.
#5. Play by the Same Rules:
Nobody likes a boss who has one rule for themselves and another rule for everybody else. Don’t take advantage of your status as a manager or supervisor, or even the owner of the business to make exceptions for yourself. Whilst there may be times where you will have no choice but to do something differently, avoid doing it just because you can – and your employees will respect you more for it.
#6. Honesty is the Best Policy:
Always remember that honesty is the best policy when it comes to building strong relationships with your employees. No employee is going to prefer a manager or leader who isn’t completely truthful with them, hides facts, or pretends to be something that they are not. The best way forward is to be open and honest with your employees; even when you get something wrong, they will appreciate your ability to come forward and admit you’ve messed up. For employees, knowing that their boss is somebody who has the strength and confidence to hold themselves accountable and admit it if they mess up is often conducive to building a good working partnership.
#7. Trust Your Team:
If you want your team to trust and respect you as a leader, then the first thing that you are going to have to do is afford them the same. A team who feel that their leader is always micromanaging them, checking up on them, and expecting the worst from them, are not people who will be open to building a good relationship with this person. As tempting as it may be when you are putting yourself on the line, trust that you have hired the right people for the job, and that they are going to be able to get the work done without you breathing over them. In fact, giving them that trust and flexibility will lead to better engagement and better productivity – and you’ll get even better results.
#8. Ask Questions:
Last but not least, don’t be there simply to answer the questions – take the time to ask your team, and learn from them what they would want from you as a boss. A simple ‘what can I do to help’, rather than just assuming that you know what to do, will go a long way when dealing with an employee situation, whether they need help with a work task or a personal issue. And, you may be surprised at just how much you can learn from your employees when you are open to the possibility of doing so.
Building good relationships with your team is laying a strong foundation for a productive and happy workplace.