Subordinate Supervisor Communications

Subordinate Supervisor Communications

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.

Impeccable Communication

Many years ago as a “newbie” in the professional world, I went to lunch with my boss and a co-worker. During that lunch, my supervisor and my co-worker spent most of the conversation talking negatively about all of the other employees in our division. Even at my young age, I sat there stunned by the gossip and negative talk. The thought that kept going through my head during this lunch was “What do they say about me when I am not around?” What I learned from this lunch was two-fold; first, don’t say anything negative around my coworkers and secondly, that negative talk about others only harms communication and trust in the long run.

My former boss and coworker were far from impeccable with their words that day and as a result they harmed the trust and relationship that I was building as a new employee. Being impeccable with your communication and your words means that you realize your words can build up or tear down. For example, when you need to discipline your employees, think about how you view the discipline. Is it a way for you to retaliate to your employee because they did not perform as expected, or rather do you view the discipline as providing your employee a path to success? The latter mindset leads you to approach the discipline as a building exercise rather than the tearing down of an individual.

What does Impeccable Communication really mean? The word “impeccable” is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as being “in accordance with the highest standards of propriety; faultless.” This meaning of impeccable communication translates to us as managers as a need to hold our words (written, verbal, and non-verbal) to the highest standards of quality. This requirement is achieved by our understanding that our words have power.

While no one is perfect with their words and we all have faltered with negative talk, we must constantly improve our communication skills by seeking and eliminating negative and harmful words. A good leader seeks to inspire and promote wellbeing in the workplace, not tear down and manage by fear. Managing by fear results in a leader who doesn’t have enough information, is unapproachable, and as a result, has poor performing employees.

My challenge to you this week is to try to eliminate negative words and gossip from your communication for one week and see how it will impact those around you.

What is a “Good” Relationship?

It’s the month of February and with Valentine’s Day looming, relationships are a force to be reckoned with. Just as they are in your personal life, establishing and maintaining successful relationships in the workplace is an important aspect in the success of your career. (more…)

Managing Difficult Change

Change in the workplace is inevitable. It happens on a regular basis whether we like it or not. For many individuals, change can be a good thing. A chance to take an objective look at processes and habits and make modifications towards professional and personal development and improvement.

That being said, change doesn’t always come easy, nor is it always positive. Major changes to positions and job duties (e.g., the result of restructuring), dealing with difficult situations, and adjusting to swift to various workplace transitions can be challenging for the most prepared and experience of us. There are still ways to effectively manage workplace change to limit resentment, resistance, and avoid a loss of productivity and morale.

Prepare Your Managers – The better prepared your managers are to deal with the change, the better equipped they will be to communicate these changes to employees to ensure everyone is kept in the loop and provided with the appropriate resources they need. Additionally, prepared supervisors can better react to and with upset employees and can help ensure everyone works as a cohesive unit by having the tools they need to effectively control a variety of situations.

Acknowledge Feelings and Emotions – Certain types of change can be emotionally taxing. Brushing your employee’s feelings under the rug is quite possibly the worst thing you can do in a difficult situation. Practice an increased level of empathy and try to put yourself in your employee’s shoes and understand where they are coming from. Knowing that you are there for them, are genuinely concerned, and will do everything you can to help them during those difficult times can make a huge difference.

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate! – Particularly in situations in which major decisions are being made (e.g., position eliminations due to a merger), it is vital to communicate anything you “can” to limit stress amongst your employees. Rumors about pending decisions can be incredibly damaging. Communicating with your employees through a period of change makes them feel like they are a part of the process, potentially strengthening morale and relationships rather than cause unnecessary discontent.

Change is constant. Having a plan in place and methods to help you mitigate the potential negative impacts of difficult change can make a huge difference in the overall productivity and morale of your employees and the ongoing success of your organization.