10 Juni 2020 | Geschäft

Strengthening relationships between managers, subordinates

The motivation for this article was derived from the saying that “people don’t leave organisations – they leave people/managers”.

Communication is the key to any good relationship and with communication comes trust.

Lisa Matomola - How many of us think beyond the new salary and new challenges when joining a new organisation?

What about the new team synergies, the new manager/supervisor relationship? Have you thought of how these relationships will turn out?

What about the recent national lockdown? For many of us, working remotely affected the manager/subordinate relationship.

From the soft skills training facilitated by PwC Namibia, we are often faced with the questions on how to deal with “situations” in the workplace, more specifically the relationship management between manager and subordinates.

What are some of the related issues that cause the “situations” or how can it be avoided all together?

Raising issues is the first step

A resignation caused by a relationship gone bad is never a pleasant experience, but we need to be honest to ask if the employee was provided with opportunities to raise the issues before it escalated to a resignation.

It is pertinent in the world of work today to make the time and create the platforms to voice and gauge how we are treating each other in the workplace on a regular basis.

The reward environment of an organisation involves how employees identifies directly with an organisation, the team and management.

If the environment is unpleasant and unconducive, an employee will become demotivated. Consequently, performance and job satisfaction diminish rapidly.

If the appropriate platforms and opportunities for regular feedback (up and down) is not created for employees, it may cause either a rapid escalation of “situations” or dealing with situations will be hindered.

Implementing 360 degrees feedback type platforms often prove beneficial, as co-workers can easily address some issues of concern. However, if not implemented and managed correctly, it becomes a tick-box exercise.

Victimisation is always a concern, where employees may feel giving feedback or raising concerns may lead to oppression. Change management and constant reassurance with the implementation is vital for the overall success.

Avoid conflict and improve communication

Communication is the key to any good relationship and with communication comes trust.

Communication is also a two-way street, a give and a take.

Advisably, invest the time and effort to schedule a diary date with your supervisor on a regular basis, whether it is just to check in with each other, discuss some relevant issues or to raise concerns.

Call it a “guilt-free” conversation.

Prepare yourself, write down your points if possible, give scenarios and how you feel, should the need arise. At best, try to control the atmosphere, keep it calm and professional and address your concerns politely.

The objective is not be to persecute, but rather to build and improve the relationship. “Teamwork is dream work”, and communication is the key to successful teamwork.

Helpful tips

Be receptive and accessible when employees want to have a discussion.

Make time for your employees, get to know them and spend time to work around the relationship. Avoid being too formal with employees as it may instil fear and you may come across as unapproachable and impersonal.

Encourage your team members to continuously give feedback and not keep issues to themselves when disgruntled. As a manager or leader - be open to feedback, you may be surprised to find some blind spots – we all have them.

One-on-one discussions or conversations are more beneficial compared to team discussion when a “situation” only involves an individual. It would also be beneficial if discussions are off-site, over a cup of coffee or lunch - this eases the atmosphere for a more informal conversation.

In conclusion

We spend 80% of our lives at work, it is ultimately our responsibility as employees to make our environment as conducive as possible, regardless of the circumstances.

Problem solving through communication is the key to a healthy relationship at work and will directly influence performance. The retention of your key talent will depend on the ability to create an all-inclusive, collaborative, open work environment for all.

Human Resources alone cannot do this; it should be a collaborative effort between managers and subordinates and reinforcement on organisational culture to ensure people can speak up and address issues.

Lisa Matomola is the manager: people and organisation at PwC Namibia. Contant her at [email protected]