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Blog | Life and Leadership   |   May 18, 2017

by Janina Aritao

An immediate supervisor has the ability to define one’s experience at the workplace.

A 2017 White Paper by Dale Carnegie training shares that:

Dale Carnegie Training asked MSW Research to undertake a benchmark nationwide cross industry study of 1500 employees to explore engagement in the workplace. The study discovered that although there are multiple factors affecting engagement, the personal relationships between a manager and his or her direct reports is the most influential.

As a supervisor, how you manage those directly under you is crucial because it shapes their experience at work, as well as their perception of the company.

As an immediate supervisor, you have tremendous influence. This can be a scary thought, considering how much responsibility you hold—motivating and managing those in your care, as well as shaping their growth and performance. But this great influence is also your tool to make an impact—to serve those working under your guidance. To design their work experience, to impart wisdom, to nurture trust, and help them find purpose and meaning in their work.  

Influence is your tool to make an impact Click To Tweet

The White Paper continues:

The immediate supervisor performs a pivotal role. He or she connects an employee to senior management and vice versa, becoming the primary conduit for the flow of information within an organization. Top down, management imparts its goals and values through the supervisor who can best explain to individuals what these mean and how they may affect employees. Bottom up, the immediate supervisor ensures that employees’ voices are heard, listens to their concerns and responds to them, and passes that feedback to senior management.

Building trust

Communication is one of the most important roles of a supervisor in keeping the staff motivated and engaged. Open communication and transparency create trust between people, and in the office setting, trust develops first among the closest relationships in a company. Those close relationships are foundational in how trust is nurtured and such culture spread throughout the company.

Part of communication is also giving feedback. To overcommunicate is a key principle in organizations, as you would much rather give an excess of information—which is forgivable and does not do much damage, aside from probably information overload. Meanwhile a lack of communication can end up being harmful and demoralizing.

Another key area is the manner in which feedback is delivered. What is in your heart as you give feedback as a supervisor—is there faith in your staff, or suspicion or condemnation? Have you asked the right questions to be able to exercise empathy?

Ascribe good intentions to one another. 

Chris Hogan, in one of his staff trainings at ROHEI, made the important distinction between judgment and rebuke.

Judgment – ascribes bad intentions to the other person. Correcting someone with the assumption that they meant to do harm.

Rebuke – is to make the other person aware of the weight of their actions. This is a way of correcting someone and believing that they did not intend to cause harm.

Leaders who serve, servants who lead

Be the leader you would love to serve. “Boss entitlement syndrome” is when a leader has the mindset of expecting and demanding excellence without first investing in the person to build relationship and inspire good performance.

A leader should be a positive influence that motivates younger ones to give their best as they learn and grow on the job.

It’s not about them making your life easier. It’s about you making their lives richer and more meaningful. That will then, actually, make your life better.

Going back to the white paper:

It is said that employees don’t leave companies; they leave people. What managers do, how they behave, what they say and importantly how they say it, affects employees’ attitudes about their jobs and the organization as a whole. Employees who are unhappy and dissatisfied with their immediate supervisors are less likely to identify with the organization’s vision and more likely to be absent or to resign. Employees who are engaged take pride in their work, support organizational goals and are less willing to change jobs for a minor increase in salary.

The motivation to be a good supervisor is not for employees to stay longer, but that their time with you, however long it is, is meaningful, and helps equip them to serve well. Employee engagement is not meant to tie a person to the company for the long term but to create experiences that build them up, work relationships that are fruitful and life-giving, and a working experience they’d consider time well spent. It is an incredible privilege and honor when someone who works alongside you acknowledges your mentorship as a key point in their personal and career growth.

Janina is a Senior Consultant at ROHEI who loves to draw alphabets.

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