10 Steps: Building a dynamic manager-employee relationship that works

A couple of days ago, just after publishing my post on “Next Generation Employee”, I was talking with Ms. Oana Cipca, Alumni Officer, Maastricht School of Management. Once again, she came up with a brilliant topic idea for my blog, “Manager-Employee Relationship”

Many of you will be amazed to know that, No #1 reason people leave their jobs is because of their managers. Yet, organizations often neglect to emphasize on this issue. Even many managers don’t even realize the importance of it.

We all know, customer is the most important thing when it comes to business for any company. But, companies should also realize that manager and employee relationship equally important as well. So, here’s my view towards building a successful manager and employee relationship that works.

Managers should be a role model

A manager should be a perfect mixture of a boss and a friend. He/She should not be rude or harsh to the subordinates.  If you are a manager and reading this right now, try to build your image in such a way that the employee looks up to you in future.

Managers should be accessible

I have heard from a few of my previous colleagues that, he/she is unable to reach or communicate with the respective manager. The outcome was nothing but frustration for the subordinates. It was because the manager had put himself in such a position that, his team members were unable to approach him. One way of delegation never brings good outcome in the long run. The managers should remove such invisible wall and must create an image that employees can liberty to walk up to their respective managers in case of a doubt and clear things.

Managers should communicate openly

Many times confusions among the team members arise when communication is done on a one to one basis between the manager and subordinates. If a manager wants to build an effective employee relationship, he/she should try to communicate in a transparent manner regarding what is expected out of them and what their colleagues are up to. It’s very crucial to hold open communication forum at least a month having all the team members on board.

Even more importantly, the manager should give feedbacks to the subordinates. It can be positive feedback; even it can be a negative feedback. But, without communicating the mistakes of the subordinates, the manager should not expect improvement in the work of the subordinate. Open communication about mistake and positive feedbacks will make the life of a manager easier without losing his/her ground.

Managers should get involved with the team members

Personal-Professional relationship can get works done faster than just having professional relationship. Managers should try to organize lunch out or evening out with all the team members in order to build a relationship outside the office. The point to be noted here is, a manager should not mix business meetings with a team lunch or team evening out. It should be a fun activity with the employees. A proper balance between professional and personal relationship between the employee and manager is the success recipe for success.

Managers should give empowerment

Empowering the subordinate is one major challenge faced by the managers. Well, in my view, it’s not only the manager to be pointed at. Empowering employees might require some time, as it depends on “Trust” factor between both the parties.  But, in many cases, many managers are unable to empower his/her subordinates even after working with them for a number of years. This type of relationships results in frustration for employees. Such type of managers should try to figure out the skills that the subordinate is strong in and should delegate the work that will communicate with the subordinate openly about the importance of the project.

Successful Manager Employee Relationship

Successful Manager Employee Relationship

Employees should understand the manager

It’s not the managers who should work to build a successful manager and subordinate relationship; rather subordinates should build and gain an understanding of the boss. A subordinate should learn to appreciate the manager’s goals and pressures as well as his/her strengths and weaknesses. An employee should try to figure out following question:

  • What are the pressures from the organization?
  • What are your boss’s long suits and blind spots?
  • What is his preferred style of working?
  • What’s his personal goal and objectives?

Employees should be a good supporter

Personally, I believe a subordinate should adjust his/her working styles in response to their manager’s preferred method of receiving information. Based on an article published in “timesjob”, “Peter Drucker divided Managers into “listeners” and “readers”. Some Managers like to get information in a report so that they can study it others like it better when information is presented to them so they can ask questions. So the implications are obvious (says Drucker) if your manager is a listener you brief him/ her in person then follow up with a memo. If your manager is a reader you convert important items in a memo and then discuss them. “

Employees should be a communicate openly

It’s not only the manager who should communicate openly; but also it’s the responsibility of the subordinates to communicate openly with the respective manager. If a subordinate’s faces problem or having dissatisfaction at the work place, he/she should communicate with the manager rationally. It’s the two way communication that builds a good manager-subordinate relationship.

Employees should manage expectation

Managing the expectation of the manager is definitely a skill that every subordinate should master. End of the day, the burden falls on the subordinate to find out what the manager’s expectations are. From day one, a subordinate should make clear him/herself that what his/her manager expects from him and it’s also important that the subordinate doesn’t give false hope. Otherwise, a manager might have high expectation from a subordinate, and unable to meet the expectation will result with nothing but negative score in the evaluation scorecard in the end of the year.

Employees should build dependability

Let’s be practical, No one is intentionally undependable. A commitment to an optimistic delivery date may please a superior in the short term but become a source of displeasure if not honored. It’s difficult for a manager to rely on a subordinate who frequently misses deadlines or unable to improve him/herself based on previously given feedbacks. Therefore, a subordinate should try to live up to his/her words and should learn to improve from feedbacks given by the manager.

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Stress Management: New mantra to convert stress into driving force

“Stress should be a powerful driving force, not an obstacle” – Bill Phillips

Many of you might not agree with me at the first glance of it. But, think about it for a few seconds, I am sure you will find the true inner meaning of it. Look around you; you will find an example for sure. The first example that came into my mind was “Diamonds”. Diamonds are crystals of pure carbon that form under crushing pressures and intense heat. And this pressure turns the pure carbon (coal) into the most beautiful creation of Mother Nature known as Diamonds. Easy for me to say, but to convert this stress into driving force one needs to follow certain steps. Like I always do, I took the time to read about new and modern ways of managing stress after my office hours and mixed it with my own ways of beating the stress to convert it to fuel for ignition. And here’s the ways for you:

Manage your time

Most of the time, we feel stressed or get stressed from professional life if we fail to manage our time properly. Managing time requires proper planning. These days work pressure is so much, expectation from management is so high, we are left with so much deliverables that many of us waste a lot of time, thinking where to start from. Even I faced the same problem when I started my career. I solved this problem in a very simple, classic and yet practical way. Make a “Things to Do list”. Don’t stop there, set yourself targets and assign rational deadlines EVERYDAY. If you have a Smartphone, download a “Things to do” app from iTunes or Google Play. Write them down and assign reminder. Trust me, you will have enough time end of the day for yourself.

Stop Comparing

I am talking about peer pressure. In both personal life and professional life, many of you have felt and still feeling the pressure from your peer. This can result in serious stress. It is tough to be the only one who says “no” to peer pressure. Let’s be practical, all the fingers in our hand are not of the same size. Same goes for your colleagues, friends, siblings and others. So, why compare? Instead of comparing, if someone is good at something, try to learn from him/her. See and learn the positive things from him. With given time and dedication, you will be able to beat the stress arising from peer pressure.

Think about it

Think about it

This is one of my favorite pic of all time. Read and think about. You have more than most of the people in the world. Enjoy life, don’t compare and don’t complain.

Enjoy your favorite music

This is definitely one of my favorite ways to enjoy work, while beating the work pressure. Most of the time, if you walk into my office room, you will find that I am hearing my favorite music. Don’t play it loud in your speakers, it might disturb other colleagues. Instead, use an earphone and connect to your Smartphones, this way you won’t miss any important business call and at the same time will enjoy the music. After all, it’s scientifically proven that, Music slows the pulse and heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases the levels of stress hormones.

Manage your social media stress

According to a study by University of Edinburg, the more friends you have on the social network, the more stressed out you may be. In fact, a few days ago, it was one of the hot topics in online media. Does that mean, you stop adding people or stop using social media sites? The answer is “No”. It’s one of the easiest ways to keep in touch with people. But, you need to learn how to manage stress from it. Instead of spending more time in front of the computer, SOCIALIZE in real life. Give your time to breath, go outside, get something to eat, spend some time with your friends or even easier watch some TV and relax. Trust me, when you return to your laptop you will do so with a much more open and fresh mind.

Sleep well

Sleep is one of the most crucial natural stress busters.  Research shows, sleep allows the mind and body to rejuvenate. After a good night’s sleep, we are more refreshed, and able to handle stress more smartly. And if you have a problem due to a lot stress, then let me give you my own personal “Sleep Well Recipe”. Before you go to sleep, sit down and write down the things that stressing you. Beside each of the stress factors write down the probable solution and how you plan to manage them. Then, hit the bed. You will sleep like a baby, worked and still works like a miracle for me.

Take vacations

Vacation used to be a luxury, but in today’s world it has become a necessity. Whenever, you get time, i.e. Xmas holidays, summer holidays, long weekends or even your annual leaves, make the best out of it. If you have a family, plan accordingly and save some money and go to the nearest holiday destination. Especially with the budget airlines this day, traveling is even cheaper that traveling by train. Go ahead, what are you waiting for? Start planning your holidays now; even while planning you will instantly become happy thinking about the holidays.

9 ways to convert stress into driving force

9 ways to convert stress into driving force

Go and Get some fresh air during office

These days, we are bogged down with so much work within the four walls of our office. We forget to even look outside through the window. In fact, I have seen people even forget to open the curtain of the window. And ends up working and living like a machine under electric lights. Sun light and green leaves are natural rejuvenators. Tomorrow, when you go to work, the first thing you need to do is to, allow the sunlight to come in. During lunch break during coffee breaks, take the coffee and go outside for a 5 min walk with your closest colleagues. Enjoy the fresh air and the beauty of mother nature. Once you get back to your desk again, your mind will be fresh and more creative.

Speak out

Don’t let the bubble of frustration grow bigger. Every one of you, who is reading this post right now, has best friends, close colleagues. If something is bothering, call a friend and schedule a coffee out and share your troubling situation. You will feel better after taking it out.

Play sport or exercise

Get yourself into a sport activity or start going to the gym. Based on scientific studies, brain releases mood-boosting hormones named “endorphins” that generate a positive feeling. This optimistic rush is also named as “runner’s high. By joining a gym or playing sports like football, cricket, tennis, hiking etc you will be able to convert your frustration to performance and live a healthier and happier life.

And once again, Thanks to my good colleague Roger van Lieshout, Manager Corporate Communication, Nedschroef for suggesting to write about this topic.

Well, that was pretty much my trade secrets of converting stress into a driving force. What’s yours? Feel free to drop a line and share with other readers.  🙂

Next-Generation Employee: Time to step up !!

Nice title isn’t it?

Last Sunday, after my post regarding “Knowledge Sharing”, one of my very good friends , Alumni affairs officer from my school Maastricht School of Management, Ms. Oana Cipca was discussing about HR culture and knowledge sharing and she requested me to write a post on “Next-Gen employee”, how to be one? What are the characteristics of a new-Gen employee?

It was really inspiring to see and hear from my colleagues and friends suggesting from new posts. So without further ado, after office hours I took my time to read latest articles on HR and clubbed it with my personal view, I started writing about it.

You must be wondering, what do I mean by New-Gen employee? Is it just the age of an employee we are talking about or something else? In my personal opinion the definition of a new-Gen employee or a new-Gen employee should possess the following characteristics:

Proactive

Gone are the days when you wait for your Manager to tell you what to do, how to do. But, it doesn’t mean that managers will just expect miracles from their subordinates. Managers have to explain what they want out of your KPI, now it’s the employees’ responsibility to think outside of the box and come up with things rather than sit and wait until things come to them. In a nutshell, a next-gen employee has to be proactive rather than reactive.

Works Smart

Nothing can replace hard work. Working hard still the main soul behind success. But, working smart will make life easy for the employee and at the same success will be glorified even more. How can you do that? Simple, with the use of technology, by being organized, disciplined. Don’t waste time looking for files or documents, take a day off and organize everything, sync it using cloud solutions like Dropbox, skydrive between your computer and Smartphones. Instead of starting to work, give yourself 10 mins and sit with classic pencil and paper, and make a mind map. Trust me, this will make your output better than you expect and quicker. Try it?

Active Social Media Presence

Many of you, who is reading my blog right now, came to know about this post either via Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter or Xing. Why am I saying that? Just to show you the power of social media. Just by using it as a tool, I have redirected you to my blog.  Well, that’s just a simple example. What do I mean by being actively present in social media is, If you don’t have an account in professional sites like LinkedIn or Xing, then you better open one today. And secondly, if you have an account already, keep it up-to-date. It’s very important to keep your professional profiles up-to-date, because it indirectly displays your professional characteristics. So, once you read my blog, please go ahead and sharpen up your profile Today.

Enjoys work

Don’t work like a robot !! We are human beings, not machines. Your workplace might be boring but you are the one who has to take the initiative to make it enjoyable.  Take the first step; and organize a small team out on a Friday evening for an hour, don’t wait for your colleague. Make it a fun environment to work, if music motivates you, listen to music while working. There’s many more ways to make your job enjoyable, so what are you waiting for? Let’s make Monday, Funday and Happy employee always bring the best result.

Always goes the extra mile

To be a next-gen employee you have to have the stamina to do outstanding work, push it to the next level.  If you want to be great at what you do and be appreciated by your manager look for innovative ways to outdo yourself. You have to be the best you can be. As said by “Yun Siang Long”, “Even if perfection is elusive, go out and get it. Even if you fall short of perfection, your near perfect would have pushed you further than you would have thought possible.” Most importantly, NEVER STOP Learning. You may be 50+ yrs old, but it doesn’t mean you should give up. Rather, push yourself and get acquainted with the use of latest software’s, online media etc.

 

Characterestics of a Next Generation Employee

3P(s) – Plan, Prepare and Process

The formula is simple: Plan ahead of time, don’t wait for the last moment. Be ready before your deadline (give yourself room to breathe). Last minute works are never a perfect and quality work. And go from step by step, don’t try to do everything at the same time, do it in a disciplined manner. If you follow 3P(s), your every project will be best project.

Be Positive

There’s two ways of living life (according to me). One is to, Complain about life. i.e. being negative and another way is to, stop complaining and to face the problem and solving it, i.e. Being positive. Once I read somewhere, “God never gave any problem without solution”. So, why worry? Start a day with a mission to contribute positively towards your job and life. Make a short achievable list to do things. Most importantly, reward yourself end of the week for achieving all the to do list. I personally do that, and it works like a miracle for me.

Dissentive voice

A next-gen employee is not the one who complies to every rule. In an organization or your manager may not make the right decisions from time to time, and this is when a next-gen employee comes in and dares to challenge the norm and question authority and becomes an asset. I am not asking you to be a rebel or a troublemaker. Be logical; don’t just raise your voice because you want to. Rather, back your voice with practical, rational and provable justifications. If your dissenting voice is for the greater good of the organization will eventually earn everyone’s respect and trust.

Excellent people skills

Once my previous manager, Head of Customer Acquisition of Airtel Bangladesh Limited, Raihan Islam told me, Amit, instead of sending email, go and have a cup of coffee with your colleagues in the cafeteria, or just pick up the phone and talk with them, you will get your job done from them faster than you could ever imagine”.  And it worked like a magic. Me and my team, we got works done and received deliverables from different departments so quick that other teams started asking us how we did that. Try it, build a personal relationship rather than just a professional relationship with your colleagues.

Knowledge Sharing

A next-gen employee is a person who believes in sharing knowledge. Now, I am not going to write about what knowledge sharing is (again). If you want to know about it, please click on this “Knowledge sharing”.

Now, my dear readers, thank you for reading, and please feel free to write comments if you think, there’s any characteristics also should be included. Keep on sharing and drop me a line, if you want to learn more about any specific topic.

Knowledge Sharing: Complete guide to create a knowledge sharing culture

A few days ago, I was discussing with a few of my colleagues regarding team works over lunch. During our conversation, Roger van Lieshout and Ali Ekici asked me to write a post about knowledge sharing among the colleagues. So, I thought it’s time to put pen to the paper and write about it. I am glad my colleagues inspired me to write about such an interesting topic, because in the process of doing so, I myself learned a lot from doing small online research. Here’s my view towards, Knowledge sharing among the fellow colleagues:

To start with, let’s get back to the root. We all know what is knowledge, but when it relates to an organization, do we really what is it?  Based on my online research, Knowledge is one of the most critical organizational resources which provide a sustainable competitive advantage in a competitive and dynamic economy (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009). Innovation may be one of the key drivers in gaining competitive advantage; organizations must also consider how to transfer expertise and knowledge from experts who have it, to novices who need to know (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009).

So, what’s the definition of knowledge sharing?

Based on definition by Jackson, Chuang, Harden, Jiang, & Joseph, 2006, Knowledge sharing is the fundamental means through which employees can contribute to knowledge application, innovation, and ultimately the competitive advantage of the organization.

Knowledge sharing refers to the provision of task information and know-how to help others and to collaborate with others to solve problems, develop new ideas, or implement policies or procedures (Cummings, 2004; Pulakos, Dorsey, & Borman, 2003). Knowledge sharing can occur via written correspondence or face-to-face communications through networking with other experts, or documenting, organizing and capturing knowledge for others (Cummings, 2004; Pulakos et al., 2003).

How does it help?

Research has shown that knowledge sharing benefits organization in following ways:

  • In reducing production costs
  • Faster completion of new product development
  • Enhances team performance
  • Induces firm’s innovation capabilities
  • Increases sales growth and revenue

How can we promote a knowledge sharing culture?

Personal Characteristics

Personally, I believe it all starts from individual characteristic. Many of you who are reading this post now, have already experienced colleagues or fellow classmates who are reluctant to share their knowledge. But, it doesn’t mean, you have to follow the same path. I truly believe “Knowledge sharing as a learning experience for the sharer”. More, you share more you learn more. Not only that, it creates a bond of trust between the fellow colleagues. This makes life easier for everyone and working together enhances performance. Like, I discussed in my previous post, knowledge sharing promotes Co-creation and it’s one of the crucial points for being an innovative company. So, instead of waiting for your colleague to make the first step, why don’t you make the first step? Don’t just think about it. It’s time to do it.

Management Attitude

Time has changed, communication should not only flow from top to bottom and bottom to top. There should be a transparent communication and knowledge sharing culture in the organization. Top management should not only give orders and make the decisions rather they should share their expertise and knowledge with the employees in order to derive desired performance from the employees. Research has shown that, Managers who have shared their knowledge with respective subordinates, their performance has been positively influenced (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009). So, Top management should break out of the hard old shell and move towards more transparent management attitude.

Rewards and Incentives

Till date various researches have been carried out rewards and incentives influence on performance.  I am not talking about individual performance or individual rewards. Many companies make the mistakes of introducing individual rewards and incentives for knowledge sharing and end up in losing more than gaining. Rather group based incentives works as a positive catalyst compared to those that individual incentives as it creates more interaction between the employees and results in creating strong and positive relationships.

Complete guide to creating knowledge sharing culture

Complete guide to creating knowledge sharing culture

Diversity

Researches have shown that organizations with higher female: male ratios were more likely to engage in knowledge sharing (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009).  Not only gender diversity influences knowledge sharing, in fact multi-cultural organization tends to develop better knowledge sharing culture. With the right balance between individual culture (e.g. Europe) and group culture (e.g. Asia) tends result in sharing views from an absolutely different angle which is unknown to another culture and vice versa. This not only brings unique nature to an organization, rather works as a positive catalyst towards to innovation and performance.

Trust and Justice

Based on research, Individuals tended to share less knowledge with team members who were perceived to be very capable and share more knowledge when they believed other team members were honest, fair and followed principles (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009).  Hence, Managers, Top management should engage with employees in collaborative communication, i.e. disclose one’s own expertise and limitations. This increases the feeling of trust and justice within employees. Such organizational culture results in creating knowledge sharing culture.

Social Media

Last but not the least, one of the most modern tools is Social Media. Modern and innovative companies engage with its own employees via social platforms such as LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook, twitters etc in order to share knowledge. Using social media, companies can adopt suitable for different behavioral styles, offering people the ability to passively observe (and take inspiration) or to be actively involved depending on what they prefer. Being actively involved in social media with employees creates strong transparent image to the outside world as well. Might sound funny, but many of you who are reading my post right now, came via social media references like Facebook, Linkedin, Xing etc., isn’t it?

Well, that’s my perspective towards knowledge sharing. What’s yours? Feel free to drop a line and SHARE your view.