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Building Relationships - Four Things Every Manager Needs To Know

Written by  Michael Hansen

We have all been there at one point of our career: the opportunity comes to advance in our company or we take on a position with another BSC to grow in the industry. However it happens, building relationships with other employees becomes paramount to our success.

I remember early in my career how hard it was to get employees to work on quality or even respond when I’d leave messages for them. It was frustrating and made me push that much harder on them. The more I pushed, the less they responded. This took place for a while until they spoke up. Unfortunately, they spoke up to Mark Skoda, the owner, and not me.

Skoda has always treated me fairly and mentored me through the transition. He could have come at me straight and said “the way you’re talking to the staff is all wrong,” but, instead, he guided me to discover the following truths on my own.

These 4 things have helped me become more successful in my career and working with people. I share them in hopes to shorten the learning curve for new managers and to encourage you to continue learning and hone your skills.

1-RESPECT OTHER EMPLOYEES

Employees come to work for a purpose and it may not always be for the same purpose that you feel they should come to work for. Managers believe the purpose is to provide high quality service. Some employees may feel it's to cover the cost of school supplies, pay for a family vacation or have the needed cash flow for their bills. Whatever the reason is, they want to feel that the company cares about their work and the goals they have. As a new manager, you should find out what these goals are and find ways for the employee to reach them while enjoying the work. The easiest way is simple: ask them. Don’t assume you know why they are working.

Understanding an employee’s motivation to leave their family and come to work each day shows you care. Respect is earned and getting to know someone is the first step in showing your respect for them. In turn, they will typically return that respect and allow you to guide them in their position.

2-BE CLEAR

How many times have you gotten discouraged at work because you felt like everything you did was wrong? You’re not alone, many go through this feeling every day. It’s the worst feeling to have and can be a strong reason for employees to leave a company altogether.

As hard as it might seem, the truth in getting a quality days’ work from an employee is to be clear with expectations. Don’t just tell them what to do and then leave; be crystal clear and show them! We use a method called “tell, show, do and review.” We have found that the best way to set a crystal clear expectation is to get involved with the employees hands-on. New managers can miss this critical part of guiding employees.

Managers should show the employees how to accomplish a task. They should discuss the steps during and after they demonstrate how to do something. Once finished, managers should ask the employee to show what they’ve learned and repeat the steps. Finally, it is pertinent to have a discussion that reviews the whole process.

3-BE THEIR SHIELD

I recently was gained important insight about a situation by an employee. They were going to quit their position with the company because they were disappointed in a new manager. This disappointment came because the manager failed to step forward and stop an uncomfortable situation.

The new manager was working with float staff in an account to cover an open spot. During this time, the floater started hitting on the regular staff member. This of course made them feel uncomfortable and even more so when the manager did nothing.

Managers should be aware of situations like this and quickly shut them down. Not only will the company lose great employees, they are also open to legal action. Employees want and have a right to be safe in their work place. Managers can do a great deal to make this happen. The most important action managers can take is to stop inappropriate situations immediately. Even if it means sending the offender home until they can be addressed more directly about their conduct. No matter what, don’t let an employee feel like they are a victim.

4-OFFER OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH

Sometimes, with the right encouragement, an employee that intended to stay only a short while with the company turns into one of its greatest assets. When a manager sees the potential in an employee, they should cultivate it. Find ways to challenge the employee that both benefit the them and the company.

If an employee has an interest in other areas of the business, align opportunities for that employee to learn in that direction. The company should want to find ways to keep great staff. If that means finding educational training that supports an employee’s growth outside of their original position then so be it.

The ideas that stem from engaging an employee in this manner can open new avenues of growth for the company while at the same time offering employees rewarding careers.

Of course there are countless ways to build relationships with other employees. I could never do the topic justice. I can only encourage the best of us to be humble, continue to learn and serve our employees. After all, without great employees, where would we be in business?

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