Moving into a management role requires a focus on building relationships with your team.  A manager and their relationships with the team, are a critical aspect of the day to day.  When these relationships function with mutual respect and honesty, performance positively impacts the business.  The link between the two may seem obvious and conceptually easy to achieve; unfortunately it’s not.  Wanting to be a good manager – one who’s driving results and engagement – is not intuitive to many people.  

The majority of managers, especially those new to the role; often don’t realize their team is disengaged, uninspired, dissatisfied and often experiencing burnout.  Many new managers think they need to continue to work and lead from an individual contributor lens, doing the same tasks, only with longer hours and telling their team how to do their jobs.  They’re focused on themselves and hence ineffectively try to manage, as they’re driven by their own ego.  You may wonder how that approach is a problem when the manager was likely promoted into the managerial role because they had performed well and deserved the promotion.  The reality is success as a manager is not directly correlated to their success as an individual contributor.  

Often  managers are not trained on how to manage their transition from individual to leader.  Coupled with not being aware of how they impact the team; a new manager’s approach can quickly go from ok, to poor, to an entire team disapproving of the manager.  The manager may think they are aligning the team; however, they may be alienating them due to their inexperience with people management.

Along with a lack of experience and training, managers are dealing with their own stress and pressure to succeed.  The pressure they feel can lead to destructive approaches in their management style.  These would show up as attitudes and behaviors that derail productivity and create a toxic working environment.  Ironically, many managers are not aware of what’s happening.  Their own pressures block them from seeing how they’re perceived.  

Training and effective coaching, affords the manager insight to realize they need to pause, to stop and reflect, to understand what the team needs.  This reflection helps them to get in tune – to become aware.  When this insight happens, they ask questions, they solve problems, they connect the team.  Their approach to the work evolves from being about them as the leader to how the team can succeed as a whole.

An effective manager is in-tune with themselves and others.  They know a team’s success is based on everyone’s contribution, not one member or their role as the manager.  A good manager understands how to align everyone on common goals.  They lead not by delegating tasks, but by offering the vision and direction, and allowing the team to create their own path for success toward the common goal.  

10 ideas for improving manager and employer relationships.

  1. Gain awareness – pay attention and observe how your team react 
  2. Understand the impacts of your approach. Consider what may be supporting engagement, connection and learning.  
  3. Address and stop behaviors that minimize the team’s ability to collaborate and create a path for success.
  4. Identify the ideal approach to lead your team and help them recognize the gap between their current approach and the ideal state.
  5. Provide effective coaching to minimize the gaps.
  6. Develop SMART Goals to sustain the growth.
  7. Encourage productive and constructive feedback.
  8. Trust your team has good intentions.
  9. Encourage your team to share learnings (success and mistakes)
  10. Celebrate the team’s success.

Good managers are essential to building efficient teams. Relationship management both motivates and rewards the team.  Along with improving employee retention, strong relationships empowers workers to take risks, set professional goals and find purpose in their work.  How you lead your team and your WAY OF BEING, directly impacts their engagement levels and satisfaction, which impacts the wider organization. As a manager, it is important to lead with a growth mindset, empathy, that you share context & have a vision that has the team align and deliver against.