Saturday, April 27, 2013

Try this Exercise to Relate to Employees

Some supervisors have used a hard-nosed take-no-prisoners supervision style. Sure, they thought it would earn them respect because they would garner a health dose of fear, but alas it backfired. So, how can supervisors win back the trust that I lost with my style? First, when counseling these folks, understand a simple principle, employees prefer harmony and avoiding the stress this form of management style. This desire for a harmonious workplace provides the hope, however, that the supervisor can turn things around and regain trust. Time is on his or her side. Important personal issues may need to be addressed to ensure the fundamental changes desired, but that's where the EAP comes in. Hey, a good book can help. Everything is not necessarily a "personality disorder". Guide the supervisor in understanding that he or she will need to fix one relationship at a time. Forget the speeches. There's no need for a Jimmy Swaggert speech. Suggest the supervisor meet in private with each employee, as applicable and practical, to acknowledge his or her supervision style and the changes planned in order to improve morale. Although the supervisor will feel vulnerable with this approach, it is the one that will accelerate regaining the trust so desired. He or she will soon discover that most employees respect authority and respond favorably to a more supportive supervision style. Try offering these exercises over a period of weeks while you counsel the supervisor. Goal: Attempt to relate to your employees on a personal basis, not merely a professional basis, on a general topic you could have in common. You may not know very much about the personal life of your employees, but there are appropriate casual conversations you can have with any employee without intruding in their personal lives. Supervisor Exercise: In this exercise you will initiate a casual conversation with an employee you don’t know very well. Not everyone watches the big game or the latest movie. But if you’re a big film fan, ask employees if they saw the newest movie blockbuster. If they say no, simply say, “I’m a big movie fan.” If they also watched the film, you’ll have something to talk casually about. If they didn’t, you shared a little bit about yourself, which they’ll appreciate knowing. Evaluation: Were you comfortable initiating a personal conversation with an employee? Did they seem comfortable talking to you, or did they hurry to get away? Was there an actual conversation, or simply a “yes” or “no” reply? Learn more about helping supervisors. Tips for Supervisors Newsletter