Making Employee-Manager Relations Work at Work

In the working environment, there should be regular meetings every week so that workers and manager can come together to discuss the current problems and be able to communicate with each other.

Employees should begin by identifying a small feedback team of colleagues with whom they can have an honest dialogue. Include mentors, managers, staff, peers, and even industry colleagues on this list. They should be familiar with their work and working environment, but need not be considered intimate pals. In fact, the closer the personal relationship, the less robust the remarks. A good friend usually goes to great lengths to avoid hurting a buddy’s feelings. Hence a little distance in the relationship would be valuable.

Then stand back, shut up, and listen. The more immediate the feedback request, the quicker they can use the comments. Employees should not argue with their reviewer, this is neither the time nor the place. They should formulate or enhance their next step in this situation and prepare for future moments with similar traits.

While the event is still clear in their mind, they should turn to the most accessible feedback team member and ask, “Do you have a minute?” If the answer is no, move on. If the answer is yes, ask him if he would help assess your role in the situation.
They should be brief, be honest and quick.

They should be sure to thank the reviewer for their efforts. Let them know how much you appreciate their comments, and that you will use their assessment to refine and enhance your performance. Ask if you may approach them again with similar situations, and don’t assume their engagement level will always be welcoming.
This is not a suitable conversation for e-mail or voice mail. Have it in person or via telephone. And remind each participant that the contents are confidential.

Don’t overwhelm your feedback team with passive requests for backhanded compliments or unwarranted praise. Minor events that make up part of everyday workplace environments are inappropriate for this exercise.

Feedback shouldn’t be considered a proprietary action. Employees and managers should make everyone with whom you have a working relationship aware that you welcome their thoughts and value their comments as tools to enhance productivity and efficiency for the entire organization. This “open door” policy is the mark of an effective leader, especially in these days of corporate irresponsibility and greater demands for executive accountability.

As one develops these informal feedback skills, expect to see improvements in leadership behaviors such as communication and problem solving that should be reflected in more formal performance evaluations. If not, be prepared to include your informal efforts in the actual formal review as examples of your commitment to personal development and organizational growth.

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