Years ago, management theory distinguished between ‘Task Management’ and ‘Relationship Management’ styles. Modern-day thinking recognizes that you need both to be effective.
Today’s competitive demands mean you can’t survive without effectively managing tasks. Yet the evidence is overwhelming that employees who feel positively engaged with their boss and their work are more productive and give more discretionary effort. Their efforts are amplified. So how do you elicit engagement, how do you build rapport?
Whether you like an employee, dislike them or are indifferent, you must always demonstrate respect. No, you must always be seen to demonstrate respect in everything you say and everything you do.
Think how you would interact with a child. Genuinely caring about an employee means being joyful at their successes and compassionate and encouraging with their struggles. It also means knowing what’s important to them.
Employees are more open to your world when you show you are willing to enter their world. As Stephen Covey wrote: seek first to understand, then to be understood.
It’s not complicated and it’s not difficult. But it takes intentional effort to become habit. Demonstrate respect. Show you care. Strive to understand.