What your manager is looking for

The relationship between a manager and his or her employees is often a big indicator on how motivated the staff may be. A lot has been written about improving this relationship and about how a manager can increase her staff performance through various techniques. However, I still find that there are a few individuals who find it difficult to navigate their work relationship with their managers and it may be worth exploring possible ways an employee can further this relationship by himself.

A relationship can be defined as “the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected”. In a work environment it relates to the connection of the manager and his subordinates as well as the connection of these individuals with other stakeholders. The success of any relationship can be measured by its direct output such as the achievement of the team’s KPIs, positive feedback through formal and informal appraisal systems, customer satisfaction reports etc.

It is therefore important to allocate success measures for each work relationship. The development of these measures should be lead by both parties and both should participate in assessing the achievement and success of these measures. The following takeaways are required for a successful relationship to grow from the perspective of the manager:

  • Employees who take ownership of their own work.

Taking ownership of your work is about acknowledging that the work you’re doing is your responsibility and that it ends at your level (even if it doesn’t actually end at your level). It’s about demonstrating accountability for the work, and for any mistakes or any success stories that are experienced during that time. Employees who show ownership at work often are the ones who take initiatives and are proactive in solving problems. These employees do not engage in a blame culture where anything is to blame but themselves. They don’t blame the company, circumstances, their boss or their outer world for what’s happening to them. They claim full responsibility for their actions and reactions towards work. They’re the ones who demonstrate that they can be trusted to do the work which often results in a feeling of relief for the manager as he or she will know that work is being taken care of.

  • Employees who have the aptitude for learning.

Constant learning and constant questioning are very attractive attributes in an employee. They show that this employee wants to grow. Learning and growth go hand in hand and employees who are willing to take the extra mile in order to learn something new are often the ones who will go the extra mile at work as well. Since learning does not stop at a certain age, employees that can take the initiative to learn from an early stage and who can keep that aptitude for learning ongoing as they move up the organization will be those who grow into the highest positions eventually.

  • Employees who show up

Showing up and being present are often what represents a thin line between how engaged an employee is and his lack of interest at work. That’s how managers view it at least. Being present includes meetings, team events, company social events etc. Employees who show up every day with the right attitude and with a mindset that portrays their interest in the company are often the ones who will be noticed and remembered by management. Showing up does not require dedicating your life to work (more on work-life balance in another post) but it does mean that you show that you care about work as much as possible.

These are some of the takeaways for employees so that they can have an idea about what their manager would want to see in them. This is how people can get a sense of direction and that all goes back to having an active dialogue between the manager and the employee. The clearer the communication is, the more clarity there will be about the nature of the work relationship. That will only result in higher performance, better productivity and a motivated team that delivers.



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