Relationship between the boss and the sub-ordinate is one of the most important relationships at any point in people's lives.
This relationship affects not only our professional journey but also our personal peace of mind. Whether you are a boss or a subordinate - you both need to have this equation right. Why? You both need each other equally. A Team Lead is nobody if the team quits. An employee cannot shine if her manager doesn't provide her suitable opportunities to grow. And so on.
But this is a tricky relationship. Many professional practices and personal biases play their role in shaping up this relationship. Sometimes a Team Lead is inclined toward one or two teammates due to some personal biases - sometimes knowingly, and sometimes completely unknowingly and unwantedly. Sometimes a Team Lead is biased toward one or two teammates owing to their superior professional expertise over the rest of teammates.
In an ideal world, we should seek to have a decent average relationship, if not awesome, between the two. In any case, don't let this relationship go down the average mark. If it's happening, take corrective actions immediately!
I have written an article on these lines sometime back from a subordinate's perspective - Why should I have an awesome relationship with my Boss? And if so, How?
Today I want to share my views on this topic looking at this equation from the other side of the spectrum - I have shared the WHY already above, let's explore how to have an awesome relationship with my team?
- Build a relationship of mutual Trust and Respect - It's absolutely necessary that there is mutual trust and respect for each other between the boss and her subordinate, or Team Lead and teammates, or Manager and her staff. I have highlighted word "mutual" because we need to understand that everyone deserves and wants to be respected and trusted irrespective of their professional hierarchy. If you don't have admiration for each other, you cannot work together for long. Pay attention to each other's strengths. There is always something in each person that is respectable. Admire that. Don't take them for granted. Now, how can you develop trust? I think the best way is to become vulnerable yourself. To share with them your journey of challenges and failures. To let them know that you have been there someday, and how you have crossed that road.
- Invest in your staff's professional growth - As a boss, I know you have a lot of pressure from the upper management. You are in-charge of deriving result/output and blah-blah. You have no choice but to pass on that pressure to your team. But as the manager or boss of someone, you also have a professional commitment to help them grow. You can't wait for an appraisal meeting to discuss this. Growth is a constant process - and you are in charge of this growth as well whether there is any tracker that says it or not. Now how you can do this? You know your team members deeply. You have seen their work first hand. You understand their competencies well. You also know what are those 2-3 areas of their development. Your role is to show them that development path, and help them design a plan to travel that path. You have to do this extremely carefully - don't make them feel little by pointing about their weaknesses every once in a while. It's a confidential one-to-one conversation. It must be done sincerely, in a planned way. Let your teammates know that you are there to show them how to grow. What this year has in store for them? How can they move up to the ladder, or to your role someday? What that path will look like? Some members will probably proactively ask these questions themselves. But not all will do. You have to be that guide to those - to motivate and inspire throughout.
- Be a partner in their personal moments of happiness - Many people think that office relationships are supposed to end at the office. I am not saying that you start visiting each other's homes. But we are humans in the end - and not machines. It's okay to have a personal bond beyond the workplace between you and your teammates. If you will care about their family, they will care about you. A great boss will ask her staff to take leave and go home. You need to understand where to draw the line. But you cannot afford to completely ignore this part.
- Be authentic and honest; and walk your talks - I had heard theories that say children don't learn from teachers they don't love. This is very much true in adult lives too. We don't want to work hard for people we don't respect. Many employees don't respect their bosses and that completely reflects on their work - WHY? Because as a manager, boss or team lead, you are not setting an example. You are saying things for sake of it . You fake professionalism. You are dishonest with your team. In such case, no guide can teach you how to be a better team lead. Your team must look up to you - if that's not the case work on yourself. After all, you also need to move up to the ladder. And equation with your teammates will play critical role in that journey of yours.
Hope you found this article helpful. I would urge you to share your comments and feedback. Your comments may help someone who will be reading this article.
Cheers to the corporate worlds which I dearly hope become more empathetic, compassionate, and fun place to be for all!