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.

Nuts-and-Bolts: Feeling Safe to Fail (Part 2)

Last week we discussed the need for employees to feel safe to fail in the workplace, and how management can create a positive environment in light of an employee making a mistake. This week, we will further discuss the types of errors that occur in the workplace, and how management can navigate through them for the overall success of the organization.

To break it down, there are mainly two types of failure on the job: Simple Failures and Complex Failures. (more…)

Nuts-and-Bolts: Feeling Safe to Fail (Part 1)

“Your attitude towards failure determines your altitude after failure.” – John C. Maxwell

Failure, like success, is a part of life. And it is most definitely plays a huge role in the workplace. However, rather than viewing failure as a setback to the success of the organization, there are ways to use failures for the benefit of your business by learning how to “fail up”–towards success. In doing so, you can create a workplace where managers and employees alike feel safe to fail because there is always the opportunity to use failures as a stepping stool towards success.

In the workplace, failures are expected. Much like trial-and-error, we often need to fail in order to succeed. In the event an employee commits an error, it is management’s job to foster an environment that doesn’t punish failure, but rather coaches through failure–thus, “failing UP.” Employees are often punished for their mistakes, rather than mentored through them; punishing failure does not lead to overall success. By punishing employees for making mistakes, managers can unintentionally create a hostile environment for their employees, who, in turn, lose respect for their management team which can lead to a laundry list of negative effects for the organization. It is indeed important for employees to be held accountable for their failures, but it is just as important to encourage them to learn from these setbacks and teach them how to not make the same errors again. Instead, teach employees that while they are fully responsible and accountable for their own errors, reassure them that there is a safety net of mentoring and training–an opportunity to learn and grow towards success from such mistakes. In a nutshell, employees need to feel that it is safe to fail in their workplace.

Employees and managers alike wish to work in an environment where they feel empowered and respected. As managers, it is our responsibility to create a safety net for our employees so that when things go awry at the office, employees don’t dread “the talk” with management, but rather look forward to learning about their specific mistakes and have the opportunity to be mentored by the more experienced members of the company. Such treatment of “failures” in the workplace build stronger Manager-Employee relationships that, in turn, build a stronger and more successful organization. Helping your employees feel safe to “fail up” is a win-win for everyone.

Join us next week as we discuss the specific types of errors and failures that can occur in the workplace, and how managers can handle them with respect and dignity for the benefit of both parties.