Today is National Boss /Employee Exchange Day! So, what exactly does that mean? Today’s holiday gives employees and their managers a chance to freely share ideas with one another by swapping places for a day.
The idea behind trading places is to help employees and managers better understand and appreciate the challenges of the other individual. Although it would undoubtedly be a fun exercise to actually step into someone else’s shoes for a day, in most businesses, that isn’t realistic. Here are a few ways you can work to open the lines of communication – without actually swapping roles.
Schedule Time for Employee Questions
When an employee has a question, his or her first reaction is likely to seek advice from the boss. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always make sense for a manager to drop everything to accommodate the employee’s question. So instead of constantly fielding questions on-the-fly, make a schedule. Lay out the best times for employees to come and ask you questions throughout the day. If you have remote employees, or those that prefer asking questions by email, establish a “service expectation” so employees will know when they can expect an answer. Then set aside some time each day to field email questions. By scheduling out your Q&A time, you’ll enjoy better focus during the rest of your day, and you’ll be able to devote 100% of your attention to your employees during the allotted time.
Follow-up and Follow-through
Accountability is a key factor when it comes to communication. Be sure to close each meeting or communication with an agreement on deadlines and responsibilities for completing any follow-up actions. It’s important for your employees to complete any follow-up actions according to plan, but it’s even more important for you to hold up your end of the bargain, so employees know they can count on you.
When stating your expectations of an employee, make sure the employee has a clear understanding of what you expect from them. Employees often waste energy griping about unclear instructions to other co-workers, which wastes time and creates a negative atmosphere. If this is the case in your office, let the employee know that it is OK to ask questions and clear up any confusion regarding particular projects or duties.
National Boss/Employee Day is a great reminder to keep all lines of communication open between you and your employees. Would you give your employees the opportunity to physically swap places for the day? Let us know in our comments section!