Last week we discussed the importance of taking the time to focus on fostering the relationships you have with your mid-level managers via effective communication. Often the lifeline between employees and upper management, it is vital to communicate expectations and provide them with feedback regarding their performance as an individual and as part of a team and to make these types of regular interactions a priority to avoid any sense of disconnect and to encourage team cohesivity.
The benefits of this type of regular communication are
numerous, but how do you communicate effectively with your subordinates?
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your managers:
Issues are bound to arise from time to time between managers and their employees and you’ll often be the “go to” your managers will turn to for guidance. When discussing these situations with your managers, take a step back and review the situation in an objective manner. Observe the situation from every perspective and angle prior to offering advice and feedback to ensure your advice is useful and constructive.
Take the Time to Listen
Don’t focus solely on providing feedback and applicable advice. Take the time to truly listen to their concerns and suggestions, particularly when it comes to managing their team. You hired them for a reason and you receiving their feedback is just as important as you giving them yours. Doing so proves to them that their efforts are valued, their hard work is appreciated, and that they are not beneath you.
Treat them as Partners
Treating your managers as equals, as partners (when
appropriate) can prove to be the difference in them merely managing a group of
individuals and managing an efficient, productive, and engaged team. Invest
your time in your managers. When your managers feel that you truly respect them
and their abilities, that you value their work as well as their worth as
individuals, the results can prove to be advantageous in countless ways.
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
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
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.