Managers are stuck in a difficult position: they are tasked with being responsible for the work of several others while at the same time, accomplishing their own workload and answering to their own boss.  In addition, they are held responsible not for just their own work, but for their employees’ work as well.

Last week, I wrote about what employees wished their managers knew.  This week’s topic covers the reverse–what managers wished their employees knew.  Once again, I received a lot of really helpful feedback and here are the top 6 answers:

  1. How to Communicate: Managers want to build a professional relationship with their employees and keep an open line of communication so everyone understands workflow and any potential problems.  Don’t assume they know everything that you are doing or problems you are having.  Certainly don’t wait until something becomes a large problem before letting them know; if you keep them in the loop, they are more likely to provide helpful feedback and provide assistance when needed.  “If you mess up, fess up!  If you come to me, I’ll help you; if you hide it from me and I find out…there will be disciplinary action.” Paul Simpson, via LinkedIn.  “I wish employees (on average) were more willing to speak up boldly when something is wrong or could be done better. It can take courage to buck the status quo, but it’s important that management hear and really listen to those views. ” Cheri Baker, via LinkedIn
  2. Understand Your Strengths & Weaknesses: Companies try to hire the most capable people to fill positions to get the best output.  However, everyone has strengths and weaknesses and unless your manager knows what yours are, he or she cannot fully understand the best way to integrate your strengths and weaknesses with the rest of your team.  There may also be things you really enjoy doing that are not part of your job.  By making these be known, your manager may have the ability to incorporate those into your job to make it more enjoyable.  “This does not boil down to things they are good at, it is more of the things that they love to do and can excel doing them.” Donte Williams, via University ofPhoenix  “Having the right people in the right places makes for a solid team and great attitude.” Eric Staton, via University of Phoenix
  3. If You Don’t Know Something, They’re Not Doing Their Job Right: Several managers said that if they wished their employees knew something, they aren’t doing their job as a manager and it is their responsibility to make sure their employees know it.  Part of that falls back on communication–if an employee is confused about something, managers want to know so they can help out.  “A manager should keep everybody informed as to what the needs of the job are and how they fit into the grand scheme of things.” Mickey Maguire, via LinkedIn
  4. How to Make Your Boss & Company Look Good: A company’s ultimate goal is to be successful and in order to achieve that goal, all employees regardless of their position must work to the fullest of their abilities, improve performance and work as a team to exceed expectations.  Oftentimes, it is employees, not necessarily managers who have the most contact with customers, their source of success so it is up to employees to make the best first impression to make the company look good as well.  “If an employee can anticipate and help their boss look good and show how to be a team player, then they will go a long way to increasing their own success in that company or just in their own pride and self-worth.” Tom Larkin, via LinkedIn
  5. Understand That Managers are People Too: Since most employees work directly under a manager, they can forget that managers have to report to someone as well.  This can put them in a difficult position at times, managing employees and having to answer to their own boss as well.  This goes along with the previous answer that if you make a mistake, oftentimes your manager has to take the brunt of the blame him or herself.  “I’m not holier than thou or an imposing force, I’m just another co-worker who happens to be your boss at work.” Paul Simpson, via University of Phoenix
  6. Self-Improvement is Vital: While managers should serve as an example and be mentors to help you advance in your career, you also need to make an effort to improve yourself.  Managers have their own responsibilities to tend to so they cannot always be there to help you with your own.  They are there to guide you, but ultimately, you are responsible for understanding your weaknesses and to follow a plan to overcome your weaknesses.  “. It is the manager’s job to have a clear picture of the needs of the employees and to help them grow, but it is also the employee’s responsibility to challenge themselves to grow.”  Tom Larkin, via LinkedIn

Comparing the feedback from both sides, communication is one of the top answers to improve work relations between managers and employees.  Both sides want improved communication, however there is a gap.

What are ways managers and employees can improve communication?  What have your experiences been in improving communication in the workplace?

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