Kantor column: Getting along with your supervisor

Columnist Jan Kantor

Photo by LEXEY SWALL

Columnist Jan Kantor

When you feel like you do not get along with your supervisor, that can make you feel uncomfortable and performance more difficult to achieve. A good, professional relationship with your supervisor is beneficial to you, your supervisor and your entire team or company.

Sometimes all it takes to get along better with your supervisor is the willingness to understand what your supervisor does and what your supervisor has to put up with on a daily basis.

The key to developing a good relationship with your supervisor is to create a relationship based on respect. You both have responsibilities and jobs to do that can sometimes be difficult. Trying to elicit sympathy from each other is not going to work. But developing a mutual understanding will be extremely effective.

Job duties

Your supervisor is given production goals to reach and those goals drive every decision your supervisor makes. A supervisor is responsible for the productivity and behavior of his or her immediate employees. If the employees decide that they do not want to follow company procedures, then it is the supervisor that gets disciplined by the managerial team.

By the time a supervisor takes disciplinary action against an employee, that supervisor has already been disciplined by management. When an employee understands that sequence of events, it can make understanding why a supervisor takes discipline so seriously a lot easier to understand.

Common goal

You and your supervisor have a common goal, and that goal is to meet or exceed company expectations to try and capitalize on any bonus programs that may be available. In many cases, part of that goal can also be to meet company goals to help prevent disciplinary action by the management team.

The chances are very good that if the company seems to be pressuring the staff to get results, then the pressure being felt by the supervisors is significantly stronger.

When the supervisor and his staff work together to achieve the common goal of meeting team or company expectations, the relationship with your supervisor will significantly improve.

Personal relationships

Most companies frown on personal interaction among supervisors and staff members, and it is for good reason. Whether it is intentional or not, the things employees and supervisors could say to each other in a personal setting could come back to be trouble for them at the workplace.

If a supervisor speaks ill of the management team, the employee could see that as a chance to discredit the supervisor. Personal relationships outside of work between supervisors and employees tend to raise the stress level in the workplace and cause more problems than they could ever solve.

Understanding of roles

An employee is hired to do a job and a supervisor is hired to make sure that the employee does that job. The roles of supervisors and employees cannot be explained more simply than that. A supervisor is bound by the rules that the management team sets forth.

If an employee expects special treatment from a supervisor, then that is unreasonable because the supervisor is responsible to the managerial team to get results.

The best way to improve the relationship between supervisor and employee is to for each party to understand and respect the role of the other.

Jan Kantor is a Southwest Florida business consultant and executive coach. For more information, or to contact him regarding workplace solutions, his website is www.jankantor.com.

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