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Oct 15, 201901:20 PMOpen Mic

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Use Boss’s Day to create better relationships

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Workers want CULTURE

Your company culture is the personality of your company, but it’s much more than simply having a hip office with a pool table. A strong culture is developed intentionally. Culture includes your mission, vision, guiding principles, values, workplace expectations, and goals.

One of the best ways to develop culture is to provide the framework for what that culture is so that people know what is expected. This includes determining the values of your workplace and outlining what that looks like in practice so that team members understand what is expected. At SP, we have our values listed on a spreadsheet, along with a description of what each value looks like in practice, as a below-expectation, at-expectation, above, and exceptional level, and we review these values together several times a year.

As I was developing this document, I shared it with the team during the development phase in a collaborative conversation and got their input in drafting what each value looks like in practice. This framework has been a helpful tool as it points to how we operate as a team culture. When someone is not adhering to the culture, I’m able to point to what we developed as a team, as a guide to facilitate a conversation about performance or behavior.

What workers can do

Relationships are a two-way street, and while it’s the leaders’ responsibility to lead these efforts, employees are not silent participants.

SP team member Madeline’s advice for workers is: “Be honest about what you need out of a workplace both for your professional and personal wellbeing.” Explore a fair middle ground between you and your employer. Determine what’s most important to you and have a discussion with your employer; this requires honesty.

The first step to getting what you need is speaking up. Team member Helen shares: “Speak up. ASK. For good leaders, this is enough to communicate to them that you have a need and aren't sure what to do next. For example, if there are consistent miscommunications via email, ask your employer if there’s a better way that you can communicate, such as face to face or over the phone, to improve communications.” Good leaders appreciate team members who are proactive in the employee-employer relationship. An employer may not be aware of what you need if you aren’t asking.

Team member Hannah shares: “Coming from a mindset of ‘everything has to be perfect’ can make it difficult to come to your boss with bad news or when something on a project didn’t go well. Don’t be afraid to say, “this didn’t work out, but here are the ways we can make it better.”

Finally, don't allow past negative experiences to dictate what your current relationship with a boss or manager can be. Just because a past boss may not have listened or been open to your ideas, doesn’t mean that your current employer will be the same. Don’t let a past bad experience prevent you from giving your current employer an opportunity to hear you out.

Employee-employer relationships are a two-way street, one involves so much more than doughnuts.

Although, they might make it a bit sweeter.

Amber Swenor is a business and brand strategist who helps people make their dreams a reality. She is the founder of Strategic Partners, a brand, business strategy, and marketing firm, and also the founder of Impact Academy, helping people to live their most authentic lives by getting clarity for their dreams and creating strategies to go for them.

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