Posts Tagged ‘manager-employee relations’

New Rules About the Manager-Employee Relationship

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

Once upon a time, there were “rules” about a professional reporting relationship.  The manager was clearly the authority and was to be revered by the employee.  Often, the manager was older than the employee and the assumption was that he or she possessed greater wisdom.  Therefore, the employee was obliged to listen and generally heed that wisdom.  A clear delineation of power existed between the two and everyone recognized that the manager was to be held in high regard and treated with deference by the employee. Both parties understood that becoming too familiar with the other was not in his or her best interest when it came to success in the workplace.  Managers were discouraged from socializing with their charges outside of work and in all cases, the employee was expected to take a subordinate role to his or her “superior”.

Fast forward to today.  In many organizations, a far more egalitarian approach exists. Managers serve more as coaches, facilitators and partners. For one thing, they are no longer the sole guardians of information that formerly gave them so much power.  With technology changes, nearly everyone can get vital information at the touch of a keystroke.  Management is no longer reserved for those with seniority, and workers of any age may rise to positions of authority due to their technical prowess, their ability to relate to others and their leadership qualities.  So, in many environments, one person may carry the title of manager, but the employee is considered more of a colleague than a direct report.

So, what is the “etiquette” of the reporting relationship today?  The manager has many responsibilities; among them the obligation to share information, encourage and support growth, and to hold employees accountable for their work.  The employee is expected to learn as well as to teach, to take responsibility for their work and to share ideas and concerns with their manager.  Both parties are expected to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Can a manager and an employee also share a personal friendship outside of work?  The question is more “How do I differentiate between friend and boss?”  And what do I need to do to avoid the perception of favoritism?  Some guidelines include:

  • Having a conversation with employees to let them know that at work, your responsibility includes assessing their professional performance.  Providing feedback is part of your job as a manager and your intent is to support them to do their very best.
  • Having a conversation with the team to let them know your clear expectations and how they can contribute to the team’s success.
  • Holding regular one-to-one meetings with employees to discuss their progress and to find out how you as the manager can help them achieve their goals while continuing to do the work of the organization

CAI offers hundreds of training courses and programs to improve the skills and performance of managers, supervisors, professionals and HR. Classroom training is offered in Raleigh, Greensboro and Greenville. If you prefer remote access, visit e-learning. Find out more here about why you should choose CAI to optimize your employees’ potential.

Blog post by: CAI’s Linda Taylor, Learning & Development Partner

Photo credit: Office Space, Twentieth Century Fox

Two Basic Things Employees Need From Their Boss

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

1. RELIABLE AND MEANINGFUL COMMUNICATION communication1

Communication is a hallmark of any healthy relationship. A recent study from Gallup, ‘State of the American Manager,’ found that consistent communication is strongly connected to higher engagement.  Employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged as employees whose managers do not hold regular meetings with them.

The frequency of meetings is less important to employees than the fact that they happen at all. The Gallup study also found that engagement is highest among employees who have some form (face-to-face, phone or electronic) of daily communication with their manager. And while all forms of communication are effective, managers who use a combination of face-to-face, phone and electronic communication are the most successful at engaging employees.

Employees value communication from their manager not just about their role and responsibilities, but also about what happens in their life outside of work. The Gallup study revealed that employees who feel as though their manager is invested in them as people are more likely to be engaged.

Approachability is a key attribute of a good manager. Employees who feel that they can talk with their manager about non-work-related issues are much more likely to be engaged.

2. PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT BEYOND ANNUAL REVIEWS

Performance management is often a source of great frustration for employees and managers alike. Employees often do not clearly understand their goals or what is expected of them at work. They feel uncertainty about their duties and disconnected from the bigger picture. For these employees, annual reviews and developmental conversations frequently feel forced and superficial.  It is difficult for them to think about next year’s goals when they are not even sure what tomorrow will throw at them.

Yet, when performance management is done well, employees become more productive, profitable and creative contributors. The same Gallup study found that employees whose managers excel at performance management activities are more engaged than employees whose managers struggle with these same tasks. Finally, when managers help their employees set work priorities and performance goals they are much more likely to be engaged.

Not sure where to start with performance management or have a specific question? Contact our Advice & Resolution team today!

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Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.

Helping Managers Overcome Performance Review Anxiety

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

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In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares helpful tips for managers looking to escape that dreaded performance review anxiety. 

Conducting performance reviews and discussions on a regular basis is a key part of a manager’s responsibility.  Conducting a performance review also carries a certain amount of anxiety, as any manager tasked with providing one can attest. There is always the potential of a dispute over the facts, a difference in perspective, or even an unplanned, unexpected, or premature discussion regarding compensation.

In order to effectively have performance discussions that identify employee accomplishments, address areas for improvement, and generate individual development plans, managers must get past any anxious feelings and move through the process confidently and deliberately. Below are some tips which will help managers overcome some of their apprehension:

Expect Some Negotiating 

Approximately one out of every five employees will work to negotiate some part of the performance review process.  It may be around the rating itself, the wording of the review pertaining to “areas for improvement” or even the compensation aspect of the review – even though this typically occurs in a subsequent discussion.   Expect it and be prepared for it.  Anticipating issues, understanding what latitude you have within your organization’s guidelines, and knowing your response(s) will go a long way towards you  being  successful in this part of the meeting.

Keep it Conversational 

Performance reviews should be conversational. Remember, this is also your employees’ opportunity to provide their input and feedback on the performance period under review.  By keeping it conversational, you will remain at ease as will your employee.

Know the Details 

Some performance reviews are conducted only once a year.  This makes it not only difficult, but imperative that details are provided during the review.  Recalling the specifics of something that happened ten months ago can be a challenge for both you and your employee.  Having accurate details can make things easier to discuss and avoid disputes. Moving forward consider meeting once a month to discuss progress towards goals and objectives. These discussions will benefit both you and the employee for the annual review meeting – which would now be more of a “year in review” format.

Take Time to Consider 

There may be questions or considerations which arise during a review that need some additional thought.  This may include an employee request about a different job assignment or perhaps a promotion.   If the answer is not obvious or if you are not prepared to have that conversation at the moment, advise the employee that you need additional time to consider his/her request.  This is reasonable, but make sure you get back the employee within the stated time allotted.

Time to Re-evaluate Process/Approach? 

If you have reviewed tips above and your managers still feel somewhat anxious about conducting a performance review, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate your approach or the process in general.  Maybe the reason they are so uncomfortable is because something about the process leaves them with a lack of conviction in some area of either evaluating the employee’s performance, measuring improvement, ability to have a “critical conversation”, or some other aspect of the review details.

Maybe it’s time for a critical review of your process.  CAI can help – give our Advice & Resolution team a ring at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746!

Please be sure to share below any tips you have about overcoming the pressure and anxiety of performance reviews.