Managers and supervisors are human. Let’s take that as a given. We don’t always feel we can share this with our people too much, but it’s true. We have feelings as well.
How we share that with our people is another matter.
One of the biggest challenges facing managers is their approachability. Despite the world moving onto a more ‘team’ approach in many workplaces, there is still a certain reverence for any manager with his people.
The irony here is that managers are just as vulnerable to the range of emotions as every member of their team, as was once said, ‘They pull their pants on just like you and I do everyday’! So, recognizing that we are all the same, allows us to understand there might be differences in some things, but deep down, we live with ourselves every day.
In fact, because of the isolated nature of a managers elevated role, there are times when they are in a worse position that those in their team’s, because they have to maintain discipline and cannot therefore be simple ‘one of the boys’ (or ‘girls’).
This is an opportunity when building workplace relationships with employees. They don’t often have the chance to relate to managers in quite the same way as their colleagues, such is the still elevated ‘position’ that a manager holds.
The opportunity comes because relationship building offers the potential to get closer to your people by showing them that you are just like them. You really do have the same emotions as anyone else and, although most often it’s easy to put on a mask of competence, sometimes you too have bad days.
Days where you feel like you need someone around to talk to. Someone to share the fears you have about how things are going and, whilst it would be wrong to splay open your self-doubt too widely, there is nothing wrong with airing some of your self-concerns, once you have the right level of relationship.
Similarly, whilst you are keen to hear from others their aspirations and hopes, sharing yours with your people will do you no harm either.
Indeed, being a little more open with your hopes, fears and concerns will draw your people in, especially when you do it in a controlled way that emphasizes the relationship that you have with each others.
The hopes and fears you have in the role you hold are pretty normal. We all wonder about how we can cope, survive and be successful.
As long as you do this in the right way, you will be valued for the way you show that far from being different, you are pretty much just like most of your people.