x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Getting on with the boss

Your relationship with your direct manager can affect the business you are trying to achieve together, and even your own job satisfaction and motivation.

Anyone who has ever watched an episode of the hit TV series The Office will have cringed at the management style of the boss, whose actions draw exasperation and frustration from his put-upon employees. Thankfully, it seems most professionals in the region get on somewhat better with their direct managers. Research suggests the way in which managers and their employees interact can be key to the success of a company. A good relationship leads to motivated staff who are keen to work hard and produce results.

Jobs website Bayt.com found that 72 per cent of Middle East professionals who participated in a poll considered a healthy relationship with their direct manager to be very important in the workplace. Fourteen per cent considered it important to a certain extent and 10 per cent believed it depended on the nature of the position. As many as many 27 per cent of professionals considered their relationship with their direct manager in the workplace to be excellent, describing their manager as not only a boss but a mentor.

A further 31 per cent of those asked rated their relationship to be quite good, with mutual respect and smooth communication channels between both parties. But spare a thought for those employees who do not get on with their boss quite so well. A total of 24 per cent of those questioned said their relationship with their manager was not stable and usually depended on the boss's mood, while 17 per cent of professionals surveyed said they got on badly with their boss.

"While many respondents were happy with their managers, a good number of working professionals in the Middle East seemed dissatisfied with their relationship with their boss," says Amer Zureikat, the regional manager of Bayt.com. "This indicates that there is some headway to be made in improving employee-manager relationships in the region." Low employee motivation was considered a major result of a poor relationship between manager and employees by 17 per cent of respondents.

A total of 13 per cent said the result was a stressful work environment for manager and employee, with 12 per cent saying it could lead to unfinished job tasks. As many as 54 per cent of those surveyed cited all of the above as possible outcomes of an unhealthy relationship with their boss. To find out how workplace relationships could be improved, the survey then asked which qualities a manager needed to maintain a stronger bond with employees.

Effective communication (24 per cent) and leadership skills (23 per cent) were considered the most essential. Almost as important was mutual respect (22 per cent), then leading by example (14 per cent) and trust in employees (10 per cent). But the results were mixed when respondents were asked how much their own company did to foster better manager-employee relations. A total of 37 per cent said their company made efforts on every possible occasion, while 18 per cent said steps were made from time to time. However, 32 per cent of respondents felt their employer did not do anything to promote that close bond.

"These results show that companies in the region do take an interest in developing healthy working relationships," says Mr Zureikat. "Many respondents also revealed that a good percentage of companies do not make significant efforts in monitoring manager-employee relationships, which is an issue that clearly needs to be addressed." More frequent appraisals (38 per cent), greater emphasis on communication (11 per cent), management training (7 per cent) and more outdoor activities (5 per cent) were considered viable steps their company could take.

Data for the online poll was collected between November 17 and December 28 last year from a total of 14,380 respondents across the Middle East. tarnold@thenational.ae