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Cultivating a good manager/employee relationship

January 05, 2012 by Stacey DiNuzzo, Public Relations Manager, Disney Institute

Nearly everyone has had the kind of manager who closes his door and rarely talks to his employees, except for the occasional email to tell you what you are doing wrong. Its not fun, or productive.

Thats why Disney takes the opposite approach to the leader/employee relationship. Here, leaders are expected to be readily available, and always willing to discuss just about anything with cast members, including problems they may be having in their personal lives, or dissatisfaction they might have with their jobs. Why do we do this? Because our cast members tell us its important to know that they are being heard, and our business cant survive without cast members who are happy in their jobs.

With that in mind, here some tips for encouraging a better manager/employee relationship:
Make one-on-one time a priority. Disney leaders set some time aside each week to sit with cast members one-on-one. Theres usually a business agenda, but the time is really about the relationship. Giving employees an opportunity to just talk about their lives or anything thats frustrating them can do wonders for job performance.
Empower employees to make decisions. Employees often have the best ideas for improving customer service, because they talk to customers all day long. Empower them to make some decisions on behalf of customers. The employee will feel like a contributor, and the customer will be happy that an issue was resolved so quickly.
Make yourself available, but dont hover. Be there to answer questions or help where needed, but give employees the space they need to do their jobs.
What management strategies do you use to make employees feel that they have a voice? Post comments below.



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