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  • Writer's pictureHeidi Deanne Coaching

Creating Effective Relationships with Your Employees

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Building strong relationships with your employees is crucial to the success of your company. It can also be a lot of fun! In the TV show The Office, the characters provide hilarious examples of what not to do when managing employees. But they also offer some valuable lessons on how to create effective relationships with your team. (If you’ve never watched the show or just aren’t a fan, bear with me…there are still some great takeaways!) Here are some tips inspired by The Office:

Be Approachable

In The Office, Michael Scott, the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin, often tries too hard to be everyone's best friend. But there's something to be said for being approachable as a boss. When your employees feel comfortable coming to you with concerns or ideas, it can help to create a collaborative and positive work environment. Pam Beesly becomes more approachable as the show goes on, building strong relationships with her coworkers and ultimately becoming a successful office manager.

One of the most effective ways to show that you’re approachable is to simply be present and visible in the workplace. Make sure to greet your employees when you arrive and engage in friendly conversation throughout the day. If your team is virtual, make sure to consistently update your availability on Slack. It can be as simple as asking about their weekend or their families. Additionally, being open to feedback and suggestions from your employees can go a long way in creating a comfortable and productive work environment. By creating a culture of approachability, your employees will feel more comfortable coming to you with concerns or ideas, ultimately leading to a more collaborative and successful workplace.


Dwight Schrute is notorious for being an intense and sometimes intimidating employee. But when he takes the time to listen to his coworkers, it can lead to some great insights and solutions. As a boss, it's important to actively listen to your employees, whether it's in a one-on-one meeting or a team brainstorming session. Encouraging open communication and valuing your employees' opinions can go a long way in building trust and respect.

One way to do this is by being an active listener. Set aside time each week for employees to come to you with any concerns, suggestions or feedback. During these meetings, give your full attention to the employee and provide thoughtful responses to their concerns. It's also important to be open-minded and willing to consider different perspectives. If an employee feels like they can't approach you with an issue, it could lead to bigger problems down the road. By being approachable, you can create an environment where your employees feel valued and heard, leading to a more productive and positive workplace culture. This was shown on The Office when Michael Scott, the regional manager, would often hold meetings with his employees to address any concerns or feedback they had. He made himself available and approachable, creating a more collaborative and positive work environment.

Give Constructive Feedback

In The Office, one of the running jokes is Michael's inability to give effective feedback to his employees. He often sugarcoats criticism or avoids it altogether, leading to confusion and frustration. As a boss, it's important to give constructive feedback that helps your employees grow and improve. This doesn't mean being overly critical or harsh, but rather providing clear and specific feedback that can be applied to future projects or tasks.

One approach to offering constructive feedback is to use the "sandwich" method, where you start with a positive comment, offer constructive criticism, and end on a positive note. For example, you could start by praising your employee for their strengths or their recent accomplishments. Then, provide specific examples of areas where they could improve, being clear and direct but also offering potential solutions. Finally, end with another positive comment or encouragement. It's important to make sure that the feedback is given in a timely manner and in private, as this will help to ensure that the employee doesn't feel attacked or embarrassed. By using the sandwich method and giving feedback in a supportive and constructive way, you can help your employees grow and develop in their roles.

Build Relationships

The relationships between the characters in The Office are often what make the show so entertaining. From the romance between Jim and Pam to the unlikely friendship between Dwight and Jim, these relationships add depth to the show's plot. Similarly, building relationships with your employees can help to create a positive and enjoyable work environment. Whether it's going out for drinks after work or organizing a team-building activity, taking the time to connect with your employees outside of work can help to strengthen your relationship and improve overall job satisfaction.

One way to build relationships is to get to know your employees on a personal level, to the extent to which they’re comfortable. Take the time to learn about their interests, hobbies, and goals outside of work. This can help you understand what motivates them and how to better support them in their career. Another way to build relationships is to be consistent and reliable. Show up for meetings on time, follow through on promises, and be available when your employees need you. This can help build trust and respect between you and your employees, and can create a more cohesive team. Lastly, don't be afraid to have fun with your employees! Organize team-building activities, celebrate accomplishments together, and create a positive and enjoyable work environment.

[*I know you are all smart ladies, but I have to add in here: do not ever pry into someone’s personal life, force them to answer questions with which they’re uncomfortable, require attendance at company-sponsored events, or, yikes, ask something illegal.]

Lead by Example

Michael often sets a bad example for his employees. He's frequently unprofessional and lacks good judgment. As a boss, it's important to lead by example, modeling the behaviors and attitudes you expect from your team.

This can include things like being punctual, treating everyone with respect, and prioritizing work-life balance. Basically, it means practicing what you preach and demonstrating the behaviors and values you expect from your team. If you want your employees to be punctual and reliable, then you should be the first to arrive and the last to leave. If you want them to be respectful and professional, then you should treat them and others with respect and professionalism. By being a role model, you show your team that you're invested in the success of the business and that you're willing to work hard to achieve it. This creates a culture of accountability and motivation, where everyone is inspired to do their best and support each other in the process.

So why is your relationship with your employees so important? First and foremost, it can improve employee satisfaction and motivation. When employees feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to be engaged in their work and put forth their best effort. This can lead to higher productivity, better quality work, and increased profitability for your business. Additionally, good relationships with employees can lead to a more positive work environment. When employees feel comfortable and respected at work, they are more likely to enjoy coming to work and be more collaborative and supportive of their colleagues.

Another benefit of having good relationships with your employees is that it can improve retention rates. When employees feel connected to their boss and their colleagues, they are more likely to want to stay with the company long-term. This can save your business money on recruitment and training costs, as well as reduce the negative impact that high turnover rates can have on company culture and productivity. Furthermore, positive relationships with employees can lead to a better reputation for your business. When employees feel happy and fulfilled in their work, they are more likely to speak positively about their employer to others, whether it be to friends, family, or on social media. This can help attract top talent to your business and improve your brand image.

Creating effective relationships with your employees takes time and effort, but it's worth it in the long run. By following these tips (and avoiding The Office's mistakes), you can build a positive and productive work environment for yourself and your team. Just remember, it's okay to have some fun along the way!


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