The majority of Americans today are employees, and employees always have supervisors. Therefore, the topic of how to create and maintain an effective employee-supervisor relationship is one of continued interest. A mutually satisfactory working relationship is of benefit to the company, the supervisor and the employee -- and is highly attainable in most instances.
Starting Off Right
Starting out on a point of understanding and agreement creates effective employee-supervisor relationships. Prior to hiring, clear expectations and procedures need to be defined and clarified for the benefit of both parties. This begins with the job summary and functions but further understanding at an even deeper and personal level is necessary to ensure success. The employee should clarify and document additional expectations and procedures that are important to her, such as vacation time and leaving early for family commitments or emergencies. The personal values of the employee should be in alignment with the supervisor’s and company’s expectations and procedures in order for the relationship to be mutually agreeable.
Attendance and Punctuality
We’ve all heard the phrase, “actions speak louder than words” and this definitely applies when it comes to creating and maintaining an effective working relationship. Obviously, if an employee has been hired, she has said or showed something eye-catching, such as impressive answers to interview questions or an exceptional resume. On-the-job behavior is what supervisors evaluate next. Being present and punctual is one of the best ways an employee can show her supervisor that she cares about her job and takes it seriously. This simple behavior often results in the supervisor viewing this type of employee as respectful, responsible and dependable.
In addition to discussing the expectations and procedures of the company and job, it is also vital to consider communication practices. When and how often should communication between the employee and supervisor take place? When communication does occur, what is an acceptable duration of time? Communication is imperative, and it is the responsibility of both parties to create a strategy that adheres to each person’s needs and styles. According to "Women in Business," each and every interaction an employee has with her supervisor is important, so an employee should be proactive in finding ways to communicate with her supervisor in the most effective manner possible.
It is to be expected there will be disagreements and misunderstandings in the workplace. Approaching confrontation in a positive manner can help both the employee and the supervisor maintain a great working relationship. According to author and minister, Will Bowen, in "A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted," complaining has become an addictive epidemic in our culture. Bowen states that complaining focuses on what we don’t want and only results in frustration and detrimental negativity. Instead, he argues, we must shift to focusing on what we do want: a positive, solution-based mindset. Therefore, when voicing discontent, the supervisor or employee should briefly state the dissatisfaction and then focus the majority of the conversation on what is preferred for the future.
- A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life; Will Bowen
- The New York Times: Do Happier People Work Harder?
Sydney Neely has worked in the education arena for more than 10 years, teaching general education, the arts, communication and finance. She holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees from Arizona State University. Neely also holds several state and federal financial licenses in life insurance and investments (Series 6 and 63).