"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Creative Mindworks

Love n’ Money

We have constantly been told that communication, patience and understanding are what make a strong and lasting relationship. Relationships are based on trust, honesty and respect. Although relationships are essential to a healthy and happy life, they are not always easy to make and/or maintain. First, one party must take the initiative to communicate with the other. Second, trust must be established and reinforced, without being rushed. Lastly, those in the relationship should look to the future and work together towards a common goal.

In all levels of society, one can find relationships among people. When taking the time to find these relationships, they can be found in the form of friendships, romantic relationships, parent-to-child relationships, etc., but how many people will think of worker-to-administrator relationships? This type of liaison is not one which is immediately, or typically, considered a “social relationship”. Why is this? What are the benefits of such an affiliation and how should managers, and workers alike, work to achieve this relationship? The answer is simple, the same steps are to be followed as when engaging in any other type of relationship.

Although young and possibly naïve, I believe that workplace relationships are key in improving the overall quality of a company. Many North American companies work with a top-down approach. Instead of heading to the root of the problem, the executive makes decisions affecting their workforce without necessarily meeting or speaking with those being affected. These types of decisions tend to do more harm than good due to the fact those making the decisions are not the ones who will need to apply them.

It is undeniable that businesses are driven by money and profit. Many business people have become so determined to live the great life that they seem to have forgotten who it is that makes them the money. I will not deny that leadership, wit, conviction and strong character are essential for a person with executive power. No company could be run without proper leadership. However, no company could function without the blue collar workers that are often forgotten.

My solution is simple. I strongly believe that the best way to learn is by actually doing the task and then teaching it to others. Here is my suggestion: At least twice a year, all members of the executive should spend a day in every “blue collar” position (such as production, packaging, shipping etc.). By doing so, the executive will have a better idea of what their workers are doing and how to ameliorate and facilitate the job(s) at hand.

In another light, the workers will be able to teach their employers which would boost morale and hopefully, open up the lines of communication between employer and employee. Working alongside an employee may or may not alter the point of view of management, but it is definitely a start.

The basis of all types of relationships (communication, patience and cooperation) are just as essential in the workplace as they are outside of the workplace. Employers need to take a step in establishing a line of communication from one end of the enterprise to the other.

On paper, the idea of greater communication in the workforce seems ideal and possibly flawless. However, like many concepts in business, this concept will only be valuable if properly applied. As in all relationships, different steps must be taken to arrive at a certain goal.

First off, members of the executive must take the initiative to communicate with the workers. This can be achieved by holding social events that include all members of the corporation. This can include company lunches where interaction is facilitated and set in a relaxed environment. A good leader is one which is approachable and respectful of the ideas of others. By increasing lines of communication, employees would be more likely to speak up and let employers know what can be done to improve production.

Secondly, the establishment of trust between employer and employee is crucial to a successful company. When workers feel they can turn to their employers, they are more willing to work for them. I believe that the best way for employers to gain the trust of their employees is to show that they are actually interested and respect the work done by the workers. By spending time working side by side with the workers, both parties will have time to interact and hopefully, establish trust.

Lastly, by working together, the company will be able to work towards a common goal. By opening the lines of communication, employees will have a better knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the enterprise and will therefore know what to focus on and improve. If workers are kept in the dark about the goings-on of the enterprise, they will not feel connected to their work and therefore, may lack motivation. However, if workers feel that their contribution and work is indispensable to the company, they may become more dedicated to their work.

Like all other types of relationships, this is not something that can be accomplished overnight. Trust between employer and employee is not something that is easily built; it takes time and dedication. By working together, I believe that employers as well and employees will benefit.

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