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employee and boss relationship

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Do you ever wish that your boss had to do your job for the day just so she knew what it was like to be in your shoes? Hey, maybe she once was in your shoes, and she climbed the ranks to get where she is, but has since then forgotten what it was like to be at your level. Or perhaps company policies and culture have since changed, so when she had your job, it wasn’t quite the same.

It’s generally good for everyone when coworkers, colleagues, bosses, and employees all have some awareness of what the other goes through. Then interactions are handled with compassion, patience, and understanding. Many restaurant owners require each member of the staff to spend some time doing every job (host, bartender, busser, sous chef) so they can have an intricate understanding of how their role affects every part of the chain of command. That type of experiment isn’t always possible in certain industries, but you can certainly see how it’s valuable. It gives people who work in the same place a chance to understand what others go through, without anyone feeling they must complain or confront to receive empathy. On that note, here are things most employees want their bosses to know.

employee and boss relationship

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We need good feedback with the bad

When we turn something in that we’ve spent a lot of time on, before telling us what we must fix, please tell us what we did well. We feel far more inspired to do a good job making the requested changes if you make us feel confident that we are, overall, competent employees. Don’t assume that we see no news as good news. If you see something we did well, say something. Then tell us what we need to fix.

employee and boss relationship

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Don’t change the rules too frequently

It can be a smart idea for the powers that be to get together regularly and speak extensively about what they want to change and think critically before implementing those changes. They should think long and hard about, “Is this a change we really have to/want to make?” The reason behind this is that, it’s hard for employees to thrive in an environment where rules, guidelines, and policies are constantly changing. So the bosses should make as few changes in a short time frame as possible.

employee and boss relationship

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We’ll work better when rested

Perhaps it’s time to release the idea of the 9 to 5 schedule. Unless this is a retail business or some brick and mortar location that must keep to certain hours, many tasks don’t need to be done at an exact time. So long as they’re done by the deadline, that’s fine. But forcing employees to stick to arbitrary hours can leave them over-extended and exhausted, but not any more productive. It could be worth it to explore more flexible hours, so employees can take breaks, or even take naps! Which is something many corporations are finding boost productivity and performance.

employee and boss relationship

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Many meetings could be an email

Employees don’t need to be gathered into the conference room to receive every piece of information. Even if the meeting is very short, it causes disruption. When employees are pulled from their desks, they are asked to shift gears. They lose focus on what they were doing. It can be worth it to consider, “Can this information be sent over email?” if it looks like your employees are “in the zone.”

employee and boss relationship

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Please don’t assume our intentions

If we make a mistake or under-deliver, please don’t assume our intentions. Assuming our intentions can look like saying things such as, “I see you clearly didn’t care about this project,” or “I see you didn’t put any time into researching this.” That may not be true. We may care deeply. We may have spent hours researching. Having our intentions assumed is very disheartening.

employee and boss relationship

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Ask us what we think sometimes

We probably have some good ideas for how the company could run. We don’t expect you to take them all. We don’t even expect you to take many. But as the employees, we know what goes on in parts of the company that even the bosses don’t know about and sometimes we may have feedback that could help the whole operation run smoother.

employee and boss relationship

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Don’t get upset when we ask for clarification

If you give us instructions and we ask for clarification, do not become frustrated. Even if you are excited for us to get to work, and you are in a hurry, nobody benefits from a boss rolling their eyes and showing irritation over employees who need further clarification. In fact, asking for clarification means we care, and that we want to get the job right.

employee and boss relationship

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The best gift is time

If you want to reward employees, do not do so by throwing a company party at 7pm on a Friday. Do not do so by treating everyone to a day at your country club on a Saturday. Even if your employees like each other, you know who they like more? Their family. Their friends outside the office. They want more time with them, not with their colleagues. The best gift is “You can all leave the office early Friday” not “You can all stay two hours later at the office for a party away from your family and friends.”

employee and boss relationship

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We don’t want to bug you with drama but…

This is a tricky one. Many employees deal with the frustrations of silently managing a problematic coworker. Maybe it’s someone who consistently slacks off or makes huge errors on group projects that everyone else must make up for so they aren’t punished as a group. Maybe it’s someone who brings very negative energy into the workplace but hides that when the boss shows up. It could be good to regularly check in with employees, ask how things are with their peers, and see if you notice any patterns of people consistently mentioning an issue with one coworker. Perhaps then it’s time to step in and try some mediation.

employee and boss relationship

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Can loyalty be rewarded?

Employees who have worked for you for a long time and done a good job want to be rewarded. It doesn’t have to be something big. It doesn’t have to be a raise if that’s not in the budget. But just doing something that shows them you recognize their loyalty goes a long way. It could be a small gift card to their favorite restaurant or an extra vacation day.

employee and boss relationship

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We work better in a happy environment

If you want employees to thrive, you need to help them feel relaxed and confident. This does not happen by creating a tense work environment where coworkers get in trouble for simply chatting and talking for 30 seconds, or for having a snack at their desk, or for barely breaking the dress code. If these things (small talk, dress code, etc.) do not actually impact one’s quality of work, let it go. Being on top of employees for these little issues makes them on edge, and they cannot thrive like that.

employee and boss relationship

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Don’t just point out the one thing we did wrong

When employees work tirelessly on something that you all know is very difficult, there might be one or two things that aren’t perfect. But do not just point out those one or two things. This is especially important when their task is fixing something that was very flawed before. Say employees are tasked with completely redoing a project that an old employee messed up. There may be some leftover errors. Do not just point those out. Acknowledge how far along they brought this. Only pointing out the small flaws is like having someone turn a lump of clay into a nearly perfect statue and saying, “One of the fingers is too short.”

employee and boss relationship

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We need work-life balance

If your employees seem happy to be there, eager to help, and ambitious, well, they’re good employees and good actors. They probably do want to do a good job, but they also want to have dinner with their families. If there is a task that could be done Monday morning, don’t assign it at 6pm Friday evening. Try to imagine the things your employees want to do outside of work, and the sadness they experience when they miss out on that. Think about that when deciding on the urgency of a task.

employee and boss relationship

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Publicly praise our good ideas

If an employee has an idea that greatly improves on something – a project, a pitch, efficiency of a system, the office environment – publicly praise them. Tell everyone it was their idea. Don’t just implement their idea, and silently accept all of the compliments that then come your way. That can leave an employee feeling resentful and underappreciated.

employee and boss relationship

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If people keep quitting, maybe it’s not them

This may be a lot for a boss to consider, but if you seem to have an ever-rotating door of employees, it may be time to consider what you can change around the office. If you can’t seem to keep an employee for more than a few months, maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s…(you get the idea).

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