Ten Things Every Employee Wants Their Boss To Know
Headline: Ten Things Every Employee Wants Their Boss To Know
Author: Liz Ryan, Contributor
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2017 20:57:00 -0500
Hours Ago: 7
Why is communication between employees and their managers so difficult?
There are several reasons why:
1. It is hard to talk about sticky topics. Many of the topics employees and their managers struggle to communicate about are sticky. Some of those sticky topics are work hours, workload, conflicts, changing expectations, personal commitments outside of work, and compensation. Not one of these subjects is easy to talk about — so it’s no wonder communication around these topics often fails!
2. Managers are typically not trained in interpersonal problem-solving. They don’t know how to do it. They prefer to send email messages to announce their decisions rather than brainstorming about problems in real time.
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3. Employees are afraid to approach their bosses, so they muddle through without raising topics that desperately need airtime!
Sticky topics are everywhere in the workplace. We have to get better at discussing them openly!
We have to get better at managing conflict, and most of all we have to get better at acknowledging that the manager of a department is not the only person on the team who has insight and good judgment.
We will always get a better answer to a workplace problem when we approach the problem collaboratively and with open minds.
Here are 10 things employees want their managers to know — but they don’t know how to deliver the message!
Ten Things Every Employee Wants Their Boss To Know
1. If you have something to tell me, tell me! Don’t send another employee to deliver the message, and don’t use an email message to tell me something we really should talk about in person — especially if you are unhappy with me. If you are displeased with something I did or said (or failed to do or say), call me into your office and we’ll talk about it. If you don’t respect me enough to hear my side of the story, how can I respect you enough to follow your guidance?
2. If I do a great job, please tell me. Sometimes it seems like you take great performance for granted but are quick to call attention to trivial mistakes. That isn’t very motivating!
3. If you have to do something that you don’t want to do because your higher-up managers require it, be honest about that. We can always tell when there’s some goofy new policy announcement coming down because you stop talking to us and become very distant and formal. If you think you are maintaining the facade of a cool and confident manager in those times, it’s not working – we can read you like a book. Just tell us “Look, organizations always try new things and we’re going to try this one, too, and we’ll see how it goes.”
4. We understand that you have to pick your battles — but you must pick some battles! We respect that your job is hard, but our jobs are hard, too. One of your biggest responsibilities is to support us when it matters — not over every little trivial thing that comes down the pike, but over important subjects where you know that there is a risk of something unfair or inhuman happening if you keep quiet. In those cases, speak up. Do your best. We tell you the truth and we expect you to tell the truth to your manager, too.
5. You don’t have to micro-manage us. If you are nervous about something that we might do wrong, just tell us in advance. You can say “Look, I’m nervous about this new report because we haven’t looked at this data this way before. I’m going to be a nervous nelly about it, so forgive me, but it’s going to happen. I wouldn’t mind if you gave me an update every hour until the first report comes out — okay?”
6. Don’t talk about us behind our backs with our colleagues, even if you’re frustrated with us and even if you think of it as “team coaching.” We will let you know when we’re frustrated with you, also.
7. When we have a staff meeting and there is an elephant in the room, please name it! When we hear you broach a sticky topic (like “When Sarah has her baby, who’s going to handle her job?” or “Is it true that there might be a freeze on hiring and bonuses starting in Q2?”) we know that we are all on the same page. When you don’t say anything about an important but sticky topic that needs discussion, we trust you less.
8. Please respect our commitments outside of work. We will tell you when you can reach us after hours and when you can’t, but when we say ”I can’t stay even a few minutes late tonight” don’t ask us “Why not?” You have a personal life, and we have personal lives too. If you trust us to work for you, trust us enough to put a wall around our private time.
9. If we kill ourselves to deliver for you, don’t reward us for that extra effort by saying “Great job in December! Let’s see if we can beat our January targets by an even greater margin!” We don’t want to quit our jobs, but we will leave if you forget that we are the geese who lay the golden eggs!
10. Finally, trust yourself enough to trust us — the people who do the work that lets you go to management meetings and feel happy and proud about your team’s results. As long as trust is the fuel that runs our department, things will be great. Be careful not to devolve into a fearful state when things get hectic. Threats and disciplinary actions will only drive us out the door or make us stop caring about our work, because we are adults. We will gently remind you if you fall into fear and do or say things that are beneath you. We are on your side — please stay on our side, too!