CANOE Network

The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Getting along with your boss?

Getting along with the boss is more important than pay or benefits when it comes to happiness at work, a new survey suggests. In fact, 45% of executives polled said employee job satisfaction is most impacted by one's relationship with his or her manager.

Staffing service Accountemps developed the survey, and it was conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from 100 executives with the Canada's 1,000 largest companies.

Executives were asked, "Which one of the following would you say has the greatest impact on an employee's level of job satisfaction?"

Their responses:

Relationship with his or her manager . . 45%

Workload and responsibilities 21

Compensation and/or benefits 15

Relationship with his or her coworkers 11

Company performance 5

Challenge/involvement 2

Other/don't know .1


"Employees are most productive when they feel their contributions are valued and their feedback is welcomed by management," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Motivating Employees For Dummies (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "The reverse is also true -- an unsupportive atmosphere can lead to reduced performance levels and higher turnover for businesses."

Robert Hosking, Accountemps branch manager, added, "The quality of a person's worklife starts with the rapport with his or her manager. An ideal boss is someone employees trust, who appreciates their contributions and provides support for their careers."

Messmer offered managers five tips for building stronger relationships with their staff:
  • Establish open lines of communication. Schedule one-on-one and team meetings regularly so that staff can contribute to business decisions.
    Employees want their questions, concerns and ideas to be heard -- when someone on staff has a good suggestion, act on it.
  • Empower them. Show trust in your team by giving them the authority to make decisions. Be available when needed, but allow your staff flexibility in how they accomplish business objectives.
  • Stand up for employees. Support your staff when they encounter roadblocks. If someone on your team makes a mistake, avoid rushing to judgment. Instead, help the person learn from the situation and take steps to ensure it doesn't happen again.
  • Recognize achievements. Praise employees for their accomplishments and reinforce the behaviours you would like others to emulate. Low-cost rewards such as an occasional free lunch or movie passes can be highly motivational.
  • Provide advancement opportunities. In addition to competitive compensation and benefits, invest in training and development programs to help employees build new skills. If budgets are tight, look for other ways to promote career development, such as a mentoring program.

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