Author: Antoinette Morris
Posted: 03 Jan 2023
Estimated time to read: 5 mins
Strong manager-employee relationships enhance school wellbeing and help create a positive learning environment.
This guide explains in more detail the importance of these relationships, their impact on school staff, and how to improve them.
Elements of a healthy manager-employee relationship
What does a strong relationship between managers and their employees look like?
In general, it will include the following characteristics:
Clear boundaries: Senior leaders and employees each understand their roles and position
Open communication: Managers and employees feel comfortable communicating with each other, including addressing complex topics
Reliability: Managers and employees can count on each other to fulfil their roles and responsibilities
Ongoing, two-way feedback: Managers provide feedback to employees and are open to receiving feedback from them
How do these relationships influence staff wellbeing?
Positive relationships between managers and employees contribute to overall staff wellbeing. The following are some specific ways that wellbeing improves with healthy relationships:
Poor employee-manager relationships create a more stressful work environment for both parties. When teachers and staff don’t feel supported by head teachers and administrators — or when head teachers and administrators feel undermined by teachers and staff — everyone is more likely to struggle with the negative physical, psychological, and emotional effects of stress.
Strained relationships also impact motivation. It’s difficult for teachers and other staff members to feel motivated to put their best foot forward at work when they struggle to communicate with or get support from their managers.
Higher job satisfaction and reduced turnover
The number of teachers and school staff members leaving the profession in favour of less stressful, higher-paying positions has been increasing over the past few years. If they had better, healthier relationships with head teachers and administrators, they might be more satisfied with their current jobs and more inclined to stick with them.
Missed our webinar on Job Satisfaction? Catch up here
Improved learning outcomes
Teachers who are stressed, unmotivated, and unsatisfied with their jobs are less likely to go above and beyond for their pupils. These issues can, in turn, lead to diminished performance, especially for pupils who require extra support and attention.
Why staff wellbeing is important in the current climate
While staff wellbeing has always mattered, it’s particularly critical in the current teacher hiring climate. Teacher shortages are ravaging the UK (and the rest of the world), making it difficult for schools to stay staffed and provide adequate educational support to their pupils.
Over 28% of pupils in England currently attend schools whose leaders say a lack of teaching staff hinders learning.
How to improve manager-employee relationships in schools
With so many school staff members leaving their jobs, head teachers, administrators, and others in management positions must work hard to improve relationships across the board.
The following are some specific steps managers can take to strengthen relationships with employees in a school setting:
Focus on healthy communication
Healthy communication is a vital component of a strong relationship. The following are a few critical elements of healthy communication:
- Focus on the facts while acknowledging their emotions
- Avoid assumptions
- Avoid interruptions
- Use “I” statements rather than “you’’ statements (e.g., “I felt,” not “you made me feel”).
Start active listening
Active listening is another crucial part of good communication. This type of listening involves paying careful attention to what someone is saying as well as the meaning behind their words. Active listeners also ask clarifying questions when needed and confirm understanding before moving on.
Improve your conflict resolution skills
Conflict is a natural in all relationships — including healthy ones. Sometimes, humans disagree, and there’s nothing wrong with that — as long as they know how to resolve conflicts effectively. Active listening and clear communication go a long way toward resolving conflicts peacefully and effectively.
Self-awareness is also essential. Both managers and employees must be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and willing to receive constructive feedback.
Regularly measure wellbeing
If administrators and headteachers consistently fail to measure wellbeing and assess their relationships with teachers and staff, they’ll struggle to know when those relationships are suffering.
Regularly holding meetings or distributing surveys gives managers a chance to check in with their employees, find out how they’re doing, and learn what they can do to strengthen their relationships.
How can managers improve relationships with their staff?
Looking to learn more about the effect of manager-employee relationships on staff wellbeing? Satchel is teaming up with education expert Jon Tait for a webinar on the role ‘Relationship with manager’ plays in influencing staff wellbeing.
Staff Wellbeing Webinar Series: Relationship with manager
25/01/23 at 12pm GMT
This webinar will discuss:
- Why ‘Relationship with manager’ is important for staff wellbeing
- How can we gather data on this area of wellbeing
- Actionable strategies for improving staff wellbeing
Can't make it? Sign up and we will send you a copy of the webinar on the day