Every workplace has a hierarchy—there has to be.  Each role is necessary to make the company function.  But there is a divide, and this week, I decided I wanted to better understand one of the divides: employees and managers.

In everyday conversations with friends, family and coworkers, it’s not uncommon to hear “my boss has no idea…” or other things they believe their manager does not know.  So I asked.  And here are the top 7 things employees wished their managers knew.

  1. People Skills: The number one skill employees commented on was their manager’s people skills or lack thereof.  Employees want their manager to know what’s going on in their lives and to show an interest and understanding in the employee’s work.  Employees are not encouraged by the do-as-I-say mentality, but are more inspired by a do-as-I-do point of view.  “All relationships do not have to take on a personal nature, but building genuine mutual partnerships is key.” Emily Gibson (MCIPD) via LinkedIn
  2. Communication: Employees want to be heard.  They are valuable assets, know detailed functions of the company and have good advice.  They want their manager to genuinely listen, empathize and provide thoughtful feedback.  Employees want you to listen to their input and use it to improve the company.  “One of your biggest assets is the people that work for you.  People can make you or break you.  People can make or break a company.” Dennis J. Morgan, via LinkedIn
  3. Role Definition: Several employees felt their manager did not fully understand their role in the company.  Employees want their manager to understand what exactly their role entails, who all they are reporting to and how they are adding value to the company.  Employees also respect a manager who can be proactive versus reactive and stop issues before they become a problem.  Managers are not expected to be experts at what their employees do, however employees want managers to understand that sometimes what may appear to be a simple task can actually be a large project.  “While knowing all the ins and outs of an employee’s job may not be possible, at least management needs to understand that they might not be fully versed in how my job is completed.” Elizabeth Siler, via University of Phoenix
  4. Empower/Trust Employees: Employees want their managers to fully delegate projects to them without micromanagement.  If employees feel their manager does not trust them to complete a project, their morale decreases and they feel an inability to complete the project fully if they don’t have the ability to fully take it on as they know how to do it.  Employees also want to learn from managers’ experience to increase their effectiveness as an employee and to better serve the company.  Don’t be afraid to teach employees; they’re not always out to take over a manager’s job, they just want to be better at their own job.  “Empower/trust your people to do the job they are hired/paid to do.  Give them a roadmap of your company’s expectations, goals and objectives and they’ll surprise you in what they can achieve.” Dennis J. Morgan, via LinkedIn
  5. Manage & Lead: Employees want you to be a manager and a leader.  They want someone in charge who is willing to tell them what needs to be done and allow them to do it.  They don’t feel it is the manager’s responsibility to do everything, however they want their manager to take the reigns and help them make things happen.  Employees want their manager to be a role model of their expectations, not just someone who expects the expectations.  “A manager’s job is to lead.  To make sure that the staff below them have the resources, the direction, the strategy and the training to accomplish the goals of their role.” Tom Larkin via LinkedIn
  6. Education & Experience: Employees want to know that their manager understands the business, has the experience to do their job properly and the education to support their role as a manager.  They want to know that their manager is competent to have a general understanding of the employee’s job and the experience to make the manager successful in his or her own position.  Managers also need to learn from their employees to improve their own knowledge about the company and processes as well as to remember where they came from, for those who moved up in the company.  “I believe managers should always be hired from within or, if hiring from the outside, must have experience in the field for which they’ll be managing.” Patrick Lisa via University of Phoenix
  7. Toughness: Employees want managers to lay the hammer down and reprimand or replace employees who are not fulfilling their job requirements.  They want their manager to stand up for them and hold everyone accountable, regardless of their relation to the company.  “You cannot be friends with your workers and expect them to respect your decisions…Friends or not, I do not hesitate to lay the law down and if need be replace the employees who do not tote the line.” David Dupuis via University of Phoenix

To really meet employees’ needs, managers have a tough role.  Employees want managers to be personable, yet tough, but the main line to a balanced relationship is communication, solid leadership, and understanding.

Do you agree?  What do you wish your manager knew?

Responses from LinkedIn Answers and University of Phoenix PhoenixConnect.