Sunday, July 18


During the early part of the 1900's, there was still a line drawn between employees and leadership. I had lived near a DuPont plant in Old Hickory, TN and learned about the history of the neighborhoods. Managers lived closer to the river in bigger homes with bigger yards. Front-line employees lived closer to each other with smaller homes. This was they way life had become during this era. But developments in technology and a gap that has closed in education, managers and employees attend the same churches, kids play on the same recreation leagues, and often have many other friend in common. 

I worked for a company that had not yet adopted this change in employee relations. In fact, they were very careless in their actions. The first thing I noticed was that the supervisors and managers converted a small office into a personal break room. The room had a window that overlooked the operations department. It had a very hierarchical feeling to it. The leadership staff also all left for break at the same time with each other. They all got up at the same time, and in an orchestrated fashion, left together in unison.

There is great things to be said about a unified management team, but there is also reason to suspect the lack of relationship building with the rank and file. Some insights:

1. If you can greet your fellow manager, you can greet your team each day. Read the One-Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard for instructions. It is easy to do and when your team needs to pull together, it makes it easy to get them involved.

2. Have lunch together. I am not saying that every single day, the leader should eat with his/her team, but it will provide an opportunity to strengthen the relationship by breaking bread together. The family that plays together stays together.

3. If someone is absent, call them. Don't always assumed someone is laying out of work, or things are usual. A phone call to someone who has missed work because her husband just had surgery is a call that will never be forgotten. By the employee!

4. Give credit where credit is due. Leaders want just as much recognition and respect as employees do, but there are times when saying, "it was Kim's idea," will help both of your careers. A boss of mine wanted me to send my ideas about solutions, which his boss had asked me for, to send to him so they could discuss solutions. I thought his boss asked me for the information.

5. Go home, you done good. Sometimes work and life is so exhausting. The race with family, career and other things can wear us down. When you staff has been giving their all and sacrificing extra time for the team, it is a great idea to let them go a little early. They will remember it... when the next big project is due.

Leaders have to make an effort to strengthen the relationship with their staff. It has to be developed over time.

What are you doing to improve your relationships with your team members? What can you suggest to help other leaders develop?

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