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How you may be sabotaging your relationship with employees

By April 3, 2014March 31st, 20164 Comments

We are getting ready to remodel our kitchen, and I contacted several contractors to visit our home to discuss the project and provide an estimate. One didn’t return our initial calls, one came out and we had to follow up three times before he sent the estimate, and one called us back within a day and sent his estimate within two days of our meeting. It was not a hard to decide who to hire for the job.

Responsiveness and follow through are crucial for any business, and unfortunately many organizations fall short of making this a practice. How a person responds and follows up says a lot about an organization and their service. These actions set the tone for the relationship, or it dissolves the relationship before it has even begun.

This applies to leaders and their employees. Every interaction you have with your employees sets the tone for that relationship and either deepens the relationship or chips away at it. Unfortunately, many leaders take the relationships they have with employees for granted and don’t see the impact of the daily interactions.

Below are common examples of how leaders can damage the relationship with employees:

  • Showing up late to meetings
  • Shifting a meeting you have with an employee because another “priority” came up
  • Not providing feedback
  • Not giving an employee their performance evaluation on time
  • Not showing appreciation
  • Always being too busy to support or coach
  • Not providing clear expectations and deadlines
  • Not being prepared for a meeting you have with an employee

You have an opportunity every day to bring your best leadership to your people. How you interact with and treat your employees sets the tone for how they will treat your clients. Accountability starts with you. Do you model accountability with your employees? Do you do what you say you are going to do? I believe our employee relationships are the most important. If you put your employees first, they will in turn put your clients first. If employees feel appreciated and cared for, they will exhibit the same approach toward clients.

An exceptional leader models positive behaviors and views the relationships with his employees as one of the most important relationships to cultivate. An exceptional leader is never too busy to write a thank you note, show appreciation, meet with his employees, provide meaningful feedback, and conduct performance evaluations. An exceptional leader knows it’s his job to make employees a priority and ensure the relationship gets continued focus.

I’d love to hear what you do to cultivate the relationship with your employees. Share one thing you do to ensure your employees feel they are a priority in the comments section below.

Laurie Maddalena

Laurie Maddalena is CEO of Envision Excellence, a leadership consulting firm that provides leadership development programs for managers and executives, keynote speeches, teambuilding, and leadership assessments. Learn more about Laurie:


  • Kristin Hackett says:

    This is excellent advice for managers working in any type of company. I have noticed that a lot of managers where I work exhibit the behaviors you list above under “common examples of how leaders can damage the relationship with employees.” This definitely causes a disconnect between them and their employees.

  • Abby Saloma says:

    Thanks for this post. Having worked in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors with a variety of different managers, this really resonated with me. I find that the single best thing you can do to create and nurture a strong relationship with your professionals is to acknowledge that they are human beings, not just employees. They have strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams, families and lives outside of work. Getting to know your employees as people is important to developing positive work culture!

    • Patricia Ilijic says:

      Your post is so true. All of us as managers and leaders of an organization first of all should treat our employess as human beings and always remember that we spend more time with each other at work.

      Attending Laurie’s leadership classes and conferences have help me became a better learder at our organization and highly recommended.

  • Brenda Sneed says:

    As part of every monthly meeting, each manager gives at least one kudo to an employee who demonstrated one of our core values. The list is then emailed to all employees. Not only is it recognition for our employees but it ties, and reinforces, behaviors back to the company’s mission.

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