The relationship between managers and employees sets the overall tone of the workplace. A poor relationship hinders the company's success by dragging morale down and limiting productivity, while a good relationship breeds a positive and functional work environment. While the exact aspects of an employee-supervisor relationship varies by workplace, some areas commonly come into play.
Clear and open communication between employees and management is necessary in the workplace. Poor or nonexistent communication may lead to missed deadlines, confusion, low morale and a host of other problems. For example, if a supervisor wants his employees to complete a task in a specific way but doesn't give clear instructions, they won't know what he wants. Employees who feel as if they don't have a say in anything or an established direction often feel undervalued, which can contribute to high turnover and poor morale. Conversely, a supervisor who isn't getting feedback from his employees is unable to do his job properly.
While being friendly at work isn't a bad thing, a person in management shouldn't engage in close relationships with subordinate employees. An employee who views her boss as a friend may not recognize his authority when necessary. Co-workers might view positive actions by management toward an overly friendly employee as acts of favoritism, fostering tension and low morale. If an employee and supervisor's close relationship goes south, the resulting fall-out can affect the entire workplace.
Good conflict resolution between employees and management is necessary. A lingering dispute between workers and management influences morale, production and adds tension to the work environment. Management should have formal and informal processes available to employees to air grievances and address conflicts. Employees must have clear paths to discuss problems and management should work with them to resolve issues as soon as possible to minimize the effect on morale.
Employees need goals to aspire to, as set and encouraged by management. Workers without a career advancement path or a voice in the company often don't feel motivated to move beyond basic job performance. Management has to develop and guide talent to develop a loyal and stable workforce that can fill the needs of the present and future.