Karen has been a supervisor of the nursing team at a local community clinic for nearly a year. Though her medical skills and experience are exemplary, she has struggled with her employee relations skills. Recently, her employees have started to slack in some of their admin-related duties and they have begun to show a lack of enthusiasm in daily tasks and special projects.

Unsure why this lack of engagement was occurring, Karen spoke with her manager and was informed that her employees have been increasingly frustrated with her micromanagement and demands for perfection, resulting in her team feeling that their work was not appreciated or valued. Karen was surprised by this and was shocked that no one had come to her to voice their concerns with her management style.

Karen’s manager realized that she should have spoken with Karen much sooner in an attempt to coach her on effective communication and managerial techniques to ensure less discord and more productivity within her team. There is so often a focus as managers to coach and correct the behaviors of our employees, but it is important to not overlook those subordinate managers who those employees interact with on a daily basis.

Mid-level managers are often the lifeline between employees and upper management (those who make the rules and set the expectations). These supervisors need to be regularly communicated with about the expectations of their jobs and provided with feedback regarding their performance as an individual and as a leader of their team. As a result of a lack of this, Karen’s team was disconnected and there was a general feeling of frustration amongst the staff members.

Take the time to meet with each manager individually to go over these expectations, to offer both positive and constructive feedback, and to allow for two-way communication. Provide them with the opportunity to convey to you their needs and goals for their team and work together to come up with a plan to help them achieve these objectives in ways that prove to be mutually beneficial to their personal development, to the team, and the organization as a whole.

Making this type of regular and effective communication with your managers a priority can snowball (in a good way!) and can lead to improved job satisfaction, fosters feelings of mutual respect and trust, can enhance positive work environments, and encourages team collaboration and camaraderie.

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