Developing a productive, respectful manager-employee relationship (Web sight)

Few workplace relationships have as much potential for personal growth as the relationship between manager and employee. This relationship can be affected by everything from economic trends, workplace demographics, job competencies, organizational culture, through to inter-personal dynamics and communications…never mind just a bad morning.

Because of the importance of these relationships, they have been the focus of even more research than relationships between friends, lovers and clients. But, whatever the manager-employee relationship, the following Web sites are designed to help develop a productive relationship between managers and employees. (There’s also some entertainment value.)

It’s no joke… so, we need to laugh

Often a good indicator of dysfunction in the workplace is the amount of humour devoted to it; the more we joke about it, the bigger the problem. This site’s offhanded list of 12 tips certainly provides a glimpse into some all-too-typical manager-employee relationships. Example: “Never give me work in the morning. Always wait until 5 p.m. and then bring it to me. The challenge of a deadline is refreshing.”

It’s about performance... isn’t it?

One way to look at the quality of the manager-employee relationship is within the context of performance. In other words, defining an effective relationship as one that produces a certain benchmark of performance. Here is a brief checklist to ensure the relationship is focused on performance. For example, is the employee behavioural style right for the job.

It’s all about the job… isn’t it?

Checklists seem to be a popular method for determining the health of the manager-employee relationship. Frequently these checklists emerge from the traditional school of job design where the manager-employee relationship forms, grows, evolves and dies from one critical work element — the job itself.

This site, from a Duke University career and performance development guide, provides a number of considerations for both manager and employee as they first start working together.

It’s all about communication… isn’t it?

This site, from Seton Hill University’s e-magnify, is an education centre for women in business, and offers a number of feature articles on managing. Click on “articles” from the navigation bar on the left, select “archives,” and then choose “managing” from the archive pull-down menu. “Like Communication, Keeping Employees Happy Is a Two-way Street” explores the inter-personal side of the manager-employee relationship: it’s all about effective communications. “14 Difficult Workplace Personalities to Watch Out For” offers tips on managing a variety of problematic staff.

You can also select “human resources” articles.

This simple read is a quick introduction to some of the issues feeding the manager-employee relationship. “In many ways, employees are like customers; managers would do well to try to keep them happy,” it says.

What’s it all about coach?

Every few years, management gurus somehow seem to collectively agree on a new collection of buzzwords, approaches and paradigms. Perhaps no surprise, the most recent focus has been on coaching and mentoring. These terms are likely to be with us for a few more years. These Web sites can provide a bit of insight into coaching and mentoring without dragging you into a “highly motivational” workshop.

The first link is to a Scotland-based consultancy and offers several articles on the topic of coaching and managing. From the bottom of the homepage click on “Articles and Recommended Books.”

The second site is for those who still believe in quick-fix solutions. According to this self-described “first instant audio coaching company,” all users need to do is go to the site, “look at the subject list and identify the skill that you want to improve. Finally click on the subject and you will hear the voice of your master coach who will guide you through the whole process.”

A. Brown is president of Write On The Money — business writing and communications that drive your audiences to take the actions that you want. For more information, visit

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