How to Bridge the Manager-employee GapConnecting to staff as people instead of resources

The relationship between employer and employee is one that can be difficult to manage, but it is vital that a good working relationship is established for the benefit of the business.

In order to keep a managerial role respected, an employer may not want to seem too familiar with their staff, but they are then at a risk of becoming alienated from the team.

This divide can lead to an ‘us and them’ attitude—one that can cause many problems within an organisation and can significantly damage a company’s ability to execute tasks effectively.

The process of reducing this gap between managers and employees ultimately comes down to the manager and how they choose to work within their team. Here are some steps you can take to bridge the manager-employee gap.

Create a cycle of communication, listening, and trust

Most employees will want to be heard and want to have an input where they can. Providing a clear channel for employees to have their say, genuinely listening to them, and providing feedback will significantly improve any gaps in communication.

One sure-fire way of increasing communication is to have an open-door policy. This will allow staff to feel comfortable when approaching you with ideas.

In turn, ensure that you deliver on any promises that you make to your employees. If a manager goes back on their word, any trust will be immediately broken. Integrity and authenticity are critical elements when building a relationship. Therefore, aim to always be open and honest with your team.

Keep employees in the loop

Another way to bridge the manager-employee gap is to ensure that all employees are kept in the loop—something that can be easily done with a team notice board. Keeping staff in the know will erase any fear of the unknown and allow them to feel that you are all on the same page.

Hosting regular staff meetings or one-on-one sessions will also boost communication, allowing you to keep staff informed of any upcoming projects, changes, or business goals. Additionally, It will also open another channel for employees to ask questions and voice their opinions.

Encourage offsite team building activities

63% of leaders felt that team communication improved after participating in team building activities. Encouraging such activities is therefore a vital step when bridging any relationship gaps.

Arranging team-building days that allow employees at all levels to get involved, despite their job titles, will inspire friendships to blossom. Furthermore, other activities such as a Christmas meal, or spontaneous work nights out, will allow employees to mingle on a more informal basis, breaking down any walls.

Encouraging activities to take place at least twice a year will create a more cheerful and inclusive culture where staff members of all levels and abilities will feel that they can work collaboratively.

Don’t micromanage

If management micromanage tasks, employees will feel insignificant and unable to tackle tasks alone. By giving your team space to breathe and allowing them to devise their own solutions, you will be rewarded with a stronger and more versatile team.

As a result, your employees will gain confidence and independence in their role whilst also having a deepened level of respect and understanding for your managerial position.

Get involved and fight for your team

Managers should often attempt to spend time in various parts of the business to gain an understanding of the business’s inner workings from the perspective of their team. Such efforts can even boost the productivity of your employees if they see you also mucking in.

Similarly, it is crucial that you stick up for your team and protect them from being thrown under the bus. A huge factor in the ‘us and them’ attitude comes from managers not wanting to take responsibility for their staff’s mistakes.

Mistakes happen in all business’s and fighting on behalf of your employees shows loyalty and respect for their morale and welfare.

Remember that your staff are only human

Outdated processes such as having employees address management by their surnames, or statements such as ‘leave your personal life at home’ have no place in today’s work environment. In fact, they do nothing except cause intimidation and worsen the manager-employee gulf.

Your staff are only human and it’s up to you as a manager to be emotionally intelligent. If an employee’s personal life overflows into their work, take some time out to compassionately check in with them.

Supporting your employees’ emotional needs will allow them to see that the company has their best interests at heart. This will not only minimise the manager-employee gap, but it will also create a safe space for employees to turn to.

Recognise and reward success

65% of workers admitted that they would work harder if they felt that their contributions would be noticed by management. This demonstrates that not enough staff are being rewarded for their successes.

Giving recognition where it is honestly deserved will boost employee morale and will ultimately lead to a more motivated and productive team. Simple elements such as an ‘employee of the month’ scheme can allow managers to reward their staff and begin to bridge the relationship gap.

Take the time to bridge the gap

The process of bridging manager-employee gap ultimately comes down to the manager and how they choose to work within their team. Taking the time to bridge the relationship gap will result in a more positive and productive team—one that will help your business to flourish.

Managers hold the key, and by following the simple steps above, you can unlock the potential of your business.

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