"When people sense a lack of connectedness with their leader--and as a result feel undervalued and unappreciated--they are much more likely to focus their energy on individual needs rather than to engage in the work of the organization. Once this happens, work relationships can quickly degenerate into emotional minefields."
Set clear expectations. All good performance starts with clear goals--and all good relationships start with clear expectations.
Pay attention. With clear agreements in place, keep the relationship healthy and productive by paying attention. Look for opportunities to praise performance, acknowledge results, and reaffirm that both the employee and the work being done are important.
Also, take the time to acknowledge the person beyond the employee. Recognize that employees have a life beyond work--and you do too. Appropriately build rapport by paying attention to what is going on in other aspects of their lives and how they are doing in general. Demonstrate that you care about them as people.
Don’t go overboard. If this is all new to you and you recognize that your approach to the emotional side of work relationships in the past has been “maintain a professional distance,” take a measured approach moving forward.