Manager-Employee Relationship Key to Work Life Balance Success

July 10, 2010

A constant theme from balanced employers is the critical relationship between Manager and employee to achieve work life balance.

Leaders play an important role in the day-to-day direction of tasks, communication of company and team vision, training, guidance, performance management and so much more.

They also have a critical part to play in the success of work life balance practices.  Managers are at the forefront of implementing work life balance policies and/or have a heavily weighted or complete say whether work life balance requests are granted or not.

Do Managers Lead Work Life Balance?

It is important to acknowledge that a Manager’s very own opinion of work life balance can dramatically impact the success of work life balance for his/her team.

Should a leader not appreciate or respect the need for a balanced life, they may be less inclined to support and accept ad hoc or regular flexible requests.

Furthermore, should a Manager not “walk the talk” and if they are one of those individuals that you wonder if they actually went home last night – they may just be creating an unspoken excessive work ethic that may start their team members to think:

  • To get ahead or be promoted, you have to work long hours
  • Work life balance is not really valued in my organisation
  • My boss is never going to approve my flexible request if they’re doing the hours they’re doing
  • Should I be putting in more hours to help my boss out?
  • I’m never going to get out of here!

How A Lack of Balance Makes an Impact

A Manager’s lack of a balanced life sends a clear signal to their staff and may leave them feeling disheartened, frustrated and resentful which may eventuate to an increase in turnover.

Ultimately, the Managers of an organisation are the advocates for any company policy, therefore a good way to involve them specifically in work life balance is to:

  • Educate Managers on the organisation’s work life balance policies
  • Support Managers to be able to achieve work life balance themselves – whether its offering additional personnel during peak times, tips on achieving balance or promoting specific programs directly to them
  • Obtain their feedback and suggestions on work life balance arrangements
  • Support them to create work life balance in their teams – e.g. if Suzie wants to start early and finish early so she can pick the kids up from school, then how can we manage the workload within the team should she start to do this?

It is important to invest in these role models to ensure that this critical relationship between Manager and employee is a positive one.

By helping Managers who “walk the talk”, this will assist to boost work life balance participation but ultimately achieve the desired results for the individual, Manager and the organisation as well – such as improved productivity, reduce absenteeism and a highly engaged workforce.

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