Inside most companies there tends to be a line drawn between employees and their supervisors, and in many instances, good reason. However, that means interactions are almost always formal between employees and supervisors. Due to this, employees rarely get insight into what their supervisor is thinking or feeling, or what their life is like outside of the workplace. To help bridge the gap between supervisors and employees, here are seven things an employee should know about their supervisor to help employee relations and help with fostering a better work environment.
A supervisor is capable of showing emotion
Often times we see supervisors simply as humanoid machines that keep things organized and get things done without blinking an eye. To help dispel this image, a supervisor shouldn’t be afraid to show emotion, whether it’s joy, disappointment, or anger in front of their employees… at least from time to time. Doing so will remind employees that the supervisor is human, making them less intimidating if the employee ever needs to approach the supervisor about an important issue.
The supervisor goes home to a family like everyone else
Supervisors ARE humans. This fact is unavoidable. When you realize this, and think empathetically, you can understand that this person has issues and decisions weighing on them while away from the office just like anyone else. Supervisors should not necessarily share large amounts of their private life with employees, but it’s important to know that they may have a spouse and kids at home. They might be running late for a sporting event, or they have a child struggling with a school subject. When it comes times to need to stay late at the office, keep in mind that everyone is making a personal time sacrifice… including the supervisor.
A supervisor can be friendly, but can’t be your friend
An employee should be able to see that their supervisor has a sense of humor and can have a jovial conversation with an employee that isn’t work related. Of course, while an employee should know that their supervisor is friendly, they should also know that their supervisor must avoid fraternizing too much with their employees so they don’t cross the line between co-worker and friend.
The supervisor is on your side
Sometimes it’s important for a supervisor to remind his or her subordinates that they’re working for the same company, and thus on the same side. There may be some division between supervisors and employees, but it’s good for the employees to know that the supervisor isn’t rooting against them in any way.
The supervisor is under a great deal of pressure
Employees may be under a lot of pressure from their supervisor, but it’s important that they know their supervisor also has a boss breathing down his or her neck. Ultimately, being the leader of a team means that supervisor is directly responsible for the performance of the team itself. They are being measured by the sum of all the parts on the team. Knowing that the supervisor is under a great deal of pressure will help an employee identify with their supervisor better and want to work harder so their supervisor doesn’t have to be under so much stress. This trickles down to the employees, of course.
The supervisor worries about letting his employees down
Just as an employee worries about letting his or her supervisor down, supervisors have the same concern about doing the best job for their employees. It’s important for employees to know this so that they can appreciate the hard work that supervisors do. Knowing this will help cultivate mutual respect and understanding between employees and supervisors, which is always a good thing for a company.
The supervisor appreciates an employee’s hard work
This is perhaps the most important thing for an employee to know about his or her supervisor. Even if they appear to be giving an employee a hard time or make it seem like they don’t like an employee, if an employee works hard, the supervisor will appreciate this. In many instances, a supervisor knows what an employee is capable of and perhaps just wants to push them to their fullest potential. It’s important for employees to know this and it’s important for supervisors to let them know, at least every once in a while.
Take these 7 things to heart, and apply them the next time you work with or think about your supervisor. In a lot of ways, they’re in the same boat as you are, and doing this will help with fostering a better work environment.
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