Engagement Driver #3- Employee Relationship with Supervisor

Engagement Driver #3- Employee Relationship with Supervisor

Our prior article “What Drives Engagement?” listed the top 10 engagement drivers.

Two areas impact employee perceptions of  their relationship with the supervisor (category 3):

1. Good relationship with supervisor  

According to author James Robbins in his book “9 Minutes on Monday,” trust is the key component in a good relationship with your direct reports. He suggests a weekly “walkabout” to spend a few minutes talking informally with one team member to discuss something personal (not about work!) to show that you care.

2. Input into decision-making in my department

You don’t have to abdicate a decision to employees to get their input and improve their perceptions of “having a say.” Read our related post about “Total Reward #5 Autonomy” that shows a graph of the continuum of decision-making involvement

Three steps you can take NOW to improve employee perceptions of their relationship and role with (you) their direct manager:

  1. Schedule a time each week to do your “walkabout” to chat about the personal life of one employee.
  2. Find one moderately important decision you need to make soon, hold a meeting where you outline the issue and ask everyone to give input, discuss the ideas without “shooting them down” (you can share your thoughts and why you are considering this approach), and be sure to thank everyone for their contributions.
  3. After you have made the final decision, communicate this with your reasoning, again with recognition and appreciation for everyone’s input.

Article for more reading:

How to be a Better Boss in 2013 by leadership expert Jack Zenger (great tips here based on study of thousands of managers rated by their employees!)

Total Rewards #5- Autonomy/ Independence

Total Rewards #5- Autonomy/ Independence

A leader is best when

  • people barely know that she exists, 
  • not so good when people obey and acclaim him, 
  • worst when they despise her
  • But of a good leader, who talks little,  When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,  They will all say, ‘We did this ourselves.’ 

-Lao Tzu

Most employees want to be involved in decisions that affect their work.

Every manager has her own style in how much they involve employees to make decisions that are important to their performance and to the quality of their working lives. Some choose to “command and control” and some are more lenient —see continuum of leadership chart below. Studies show that employees have higher engagement under a manager that is more participative and democratic (toward the right side of the chart).

Employees do not expect that they will make the final decision in all cases, but if it affects their work they want to at least be given an opportunity to discuss and suggest.

Read abstract of Tannenbaum & Schmidt article on this leadership continuum 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net