Q&A: What Is a Subordinate-Supervisor Relationship in the Workplace?

The definition of a subordinate relationship is one in which two people interact at different levels. The direct subordinate reports to the supervisor and relies on the supervisor for direction, leadership and feedback.

(scene8) relationship btw boss & coworker: nature of supervisor & subordinate

Alternatives to the term subordinate within the workplace

Although there are subordinates in every workplace, the term “subordinate” is no longer appropriate and is hardly ever used in the current business environment. When a manager addresses their team as subordinates, it could be taken negatively.

Consider the following alternatives to using the term subordinate:

Another alternative is to just use the person’s job title. By addressing them with respect, you can foster goodwill among coworkers, foster workplace growth, and increase productivity.

Who is a subordinate?

A subordinate is someone who is in a secondary rank. An employee who reports to either a manager or a group of managers in a professional setting is simply referred to as a subordinate. Another possibility is that there is a hierarchy within the company, with one manager reporting to a higher-level manager. Although there are still subordinates in the workplace, most businesses prefer to avoid using the word because of its negative connotation.

Subordinate role definition

In a subordinate position, an employee is one who answers to another. An employee who holds a lower position in the corporate hierarchy is referred to as a subordinate. Depending on the level, business and industry, and the subordinate’s specific roles and responsibilities

Subordinate relationship definition

A relationship between two people that involves them interacting on different levels is known as a subordinate relationship. The supervisor is the direct report, and the direct report looks to the supervisor for guidance, leadership, and feedback. In this situation, the supervisor also has a duty to guide the subordinate and aid in the development of their skills.

Tips for being an effective employee (subordinate)

A number of advantages can come from working hard to be an effective employee for both your professional life and the business you work for. Regardless of your position, you can always work to enhance your abilities and contribution to your workplace. You can be the most productive employee when you report to someone else in the following ways:

Continue learning

When you begin a new job, you are probably eager to learn everything required to succeed in your role. But as time goes on and your workload increases, you might have less time to focus on understanding your position and role within the company. Making continuing education a top priority for your job can help you consistently enhance your abilities, produce more work, and keep your daily tasks interesting.

Prioritize professionalism

You can gain the respect of your managers and continue to be an effective employee by conducting yourself professionally while at work. Professionalism in the workplace includes things like showing up on time or early each day, dressing appropriately, and not gossiping. Your employer will respect and trust you more the more professionally you conduct yourself.

Work hard

Working hard every day is necessary to be a respected and productive employee. This implies that you show up prepared to work with all of your attention and that you make an effort to finish the tasks given to you quickly. When you finish your tasks, try to help out your teammates, and when you need clarification, ask a question to show that you’re paying attention and understanding the task at hand.

Limit distractions

In the modern workplace, there are countless distractions, including social media, email, and mobile devices. Being the best employee you can means turning off your phone or keeping it on silent and avoiding distractions while working. Try to keep only the website tabs that you are currently using open if you use a computer.

Tips for maintaining positive relationships with your employees (subordinates)

A worker is someone you depend on to finish the tasks you need to advance your business. Your ability to succeed as a manager can be directly impacted by the qualifications and skills of your staff. Positivity with those who report to you should be a top priority for you as an effective supervisor.

You can promote positive interactions between yourself and your staff by doing the following things:

Encourage open communication

Effective communication is essential to a company’s overall success as well as the relationships between its employees. Encouraging open dialogue can demonstrate to your staff that you are prepared to pay attention to their worries and take their opinions seriously. An open door policy and face-to-face interactions are two ways to promote communication. When staff members approach you with questions, suggestions, or grievances, be sure to pay them attention and show consideration.

Be clear about job expectations

If an employee isn’t completely aware of their position within the company, it may be difficult for them to live up to your expectations. Your team’s members will be more productive and able to accomplish their goals more effectively if the roles and responsibilities are defined clearly.

Offer constructive feedback

Understanding your employees’ strengths and weaknesses as a manager will help you work to improve their abilities in their role. One way to achieve this is through constructive criticism, which focuses on particular problems while remaining upbeat and motivating. When providing criticism, be sure to note the difficulty and provide suggestions for how the employee can proceed in the future.


Should supervisors be friends with subordinates?

The subordinate must respect the manager’s leadership skills, and the manager must respect the employee. There should be open communication between the parties in this relationship. In order to achieve goals, it is crucial that everyone understands their role and what is expected of them.

Can a supervisor date a subordinate?

Employee/manager friendships can foster growth, increase engagement, and boost productivity at work when people respect and trust one another, just like in any healthy relationship.

Can a supervisor have a relationship with an employee?

There is no law against dating one’s boss. However, many businesses have rules in place prohibiting supervisors and managers from dating subordinate employees. These regulations were put in place to avoid pressuring a worker into a relationship.

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