Any businessperson knows that their relationship with their employees should be beneficial, productive, and based on mutual respect.
Any employee knows that their relationship with their boss is one of the most crucial in their lives, and should also be respectful, beneficial, and — on their part — somewhat deferential.
However, despite both parties knowing they stand to benefit from a concerted effort to have a pleasant relationship, the employee/boss dynamic frequently breaks down in a business environment. The world is full of stories of bad bosses and unpleasant employees— but why does this happen when it would genuinely benefit both boss and employee to get along?
The issue is usually one of perspective, with a boss and an employee seeing various scenarios very differently from one another. If you are a boss or an employee, you might want to read through this example to see just how differently each party approaches the issue…
Scenario: There’s a loose paving slab at the front of the office. It isn’t an immediate hazard, but someone could fall and trip on it if they are not careful.
As A Boss, You Think… It isn’t that big of a problem; people can just take care. It’s going to be really expensive to replace and though it’s on the list of jobs, it’s not something you can prioritise at the present time. You hope that signage and a warning to all staff communicated by email will be sufficient to calm nerves about the situation, and prevent a costly repair.
As An Employee, You Think… This is a genuine danger, and one that could set the ball rolling on an horrific chain of events. You know the stats; people can and do get injured in what seem like minor circumstances all the time. You see that slab and immediately worry you could have an accident, which leads to you having to leave your job, calling on your insurance but then discovering they denied your claim, so you have to move back in with your parents… it’s a nightmare, and one that makes you feel unsafe going into your working environment.
So what can you learn from this?
- Bosses, remember: Employees judge hazards differently to you, and think in personal terms rather than in relation to the business. Always remember that your employees are individuals, not numbers.
- Employees, remember: If your boss refuses to do something, they may genuinely be struggling to finance it; very rarely do bosses do unpopular things out of pure spite. Try to be more accommodating and remember that your boss may be privy to information you are not aware of, so they may be making the best decision for the company— even if that decision disappoints you personally, it might still be the right one on a business level.
The above scenario exemplifies the fundamentally different ways an employee and a boss will see situations. By ensuring that you are always aware of how different these views are when conducting your own boss or employee relationship, you should be able to get the most out of this vital relationship. Good luck.
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