The manager must create a relationship where he/she is viewed by the employee as trustworthy
Building a collaborative environment and asking employees to ‘think outside the box’ and actually come up with ideas that benefit the organization requires management that is trusted by employees for rewards, as well as for occasional help.
Trust is bred by consistent patterns of behavior and demonstrations of achievement or subject expertise. Keep in mind that by ‘consistent patterns of behavior’ the erratic or eccentric is not ruled out. A scientist who consistently and often forgets his lunch, or becomes known for veering off topic during conversations can still exhibit consistent behavior that makes him/her trustable in the eyes of employees.
The basis of trust is fair dealing and honest exchange of views, and on top of that, if a manager can establish himself/herself as approachable and one who stands up for employees – workplace trust is built.
Partnership behavior is the key
To create an environment of true employer-employee collaboration, much depends upon the manager, and how he/she handles the situation.
The manager leads by demonstrating partnership behaviors, and emphasizing mutual success or win-win outcomes to the employee. The manager needs to provide logical and acceptable answers to the following questions:
- How would changes in work pattern benefit the employee both in the short and long term?
- How would changes in work pattern help the employee to achieve his goals and career objectives?
- Does the employee know of a better method to achieving common objectives than what the manager is proposing?
The benefit of a collaborative environment is that managers and employees essentially share partnership relationships and create work processes that draw upon complementary knowledge, skills, and expertise. An obvious outcome of a collaborative environment is the creation of common processes, vocabulary (jargon) and communication enhancement. It makes accomplishing goals and teamwork far easier than a situation where the manager generates orders and the employee just focuses on fulfilling demands raised by the manager.
Good managers take great care to build a partnership relationship with those directly under them and always try to build collaborative environments.
Nannette Rundle Carroll, The Communication Problem Solver: Simple Tools and Techniques for Busy Managers (New York: American Management Association, 2010)