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.

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


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.