Your relationship with your employees is one of the most important skills you can develop. When they work hard, your company flourishes. They are the ones doing the groundwork. They are taking meetings on your behalf. They are talking to clients and customers. You need to be sure that they are working at their best. That all starts with a good relationship between you and them.
Treat them with respect
First and foremost, always remember that they are working with you. Your company is at its strongest when there is mutual respect at all levels. Their respect for you will be reciprocated if you respect them. Learn their names and address them as such. Ask about their lives and treat them as friends, not just colleagues. It is an important part of creating the right working environment.
Ask, don’t tell
The last thing you want in the workplace is resentment. Resentment builds when workers are constantly forced, or told to do something. People work harder and better when something is asked of them. When they are addressed as equals and asked to complete something, they will work better.
A key skill for startup leaders is to empathise with your workers. Realise that they have lives outside of the office and that they have needs. They won’t always come to the boss with problems, you need to anticipate. This will go a long way to generating respect.
Inevitably, things can’t always go well. There will always be disagreements in the office and exchanges of opinion. Never shout at employees in front of others. It is degrading and they will resent you for it. Try to solve problems amicably. In extreme cases, you can use commercial mediation to resolve disputes.
Work towards a common goal
You’ll get the best performance from your workers when you’re all working towards a common goal. When people feel like they are part of something bigger, they will work harder. If they can see their contribution having an effect, they will feel empowered. If you can express this common goal with enough passion, they will feel inspired and impassioned.
Reward good work
People like to know that their contribution mattered. Rewarding good work is one way to do that. More important, however, is the acknowledgement. It need only be as simple as “great report last week”. They will then know that their work is valued.
Finally, the most important point of all. The key to any strong relationship is communication. You must sit down with each of your employees and talk about their work. Talk about their goals and how you can help them reach those. Talk about any problems they are having and how you can help them with that. Again, this is all about respect and working together towards something. People don’t like to be talked down to. They like to work together for something important. Help them achieve that.
A good relationship with your employees will boost morale, efficiency and profits. It is one of the most important aspects of your business. Never forget this and always work to improve it.