This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Here are three tips for ensuring the relationship you have with employees is helping, rather than hindering, their productivity.
One reason why a good relationship with your employees can increase their willingness to go above and beyond for your organization is that it can provide them the skills and support needed to take initiative and advocate for change in the environment. Oftentimes, employees who have a close work relationship with their leader enjoy certain privileges not available to other members of the work environment, such as increased flexibility for how to do their work, access to valued information, or additional training. As research suggests, such privileges can help these trusted employees mature and grow in their role and feel better equipped to speak up their ideas and be an overall champion for constructive change and growth in the company.
Although too close of a relationship with your employees can dissuade them from contributing to the organization’s success, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the most out of these members. A good place to start is by clearly communicating your expectations. Part of the reason why employees may refrain from voicing their ideas and concerns to a leader with whom they share a strong relationship is that they may worry about jeopardizing the relationship by bothering or overwhelming the leader. So one way you can ensure that these employees continue to speak up is by simply letting them know that you value and want to hear what they have to say. As our results suggest, no matter how strong a leader’s relationship with their employees might be, employees will still be willing to offer their innovative thoughts and suggestions if the leader explicitly requests that they share their ideas and concerns.
Typically, when employees see other members of the work environment voicing their ideas, they are more willing to speak up as well because they feel it is safe to express their thoughts and suggestions. But while the presence of others speaking up may signal a psychologically safe environment, it may also generate bystander effects that discourage your closest employees from speaking up. For example, our results suggest that when others are voicing their ideas in the work environment, those employees with whom the leader shares a close relationship may find it easier to diffuse their responsibility to speak up and instead focus on their leader’s needs. To combat such bystander effects, be sure to inform employees, especially those with whom you’re particularly close, that your needs and the needs of the organization are aligned.
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