Have you ever heard the term that people don’t leave companies, they leave their leader? It’s true, 34% of people would leave their job because of uncaring and inspiring leaders, and according to a McKinsey & Company survey, it’s one of the top reasons that people quit their previous job.
Some managers are just truly uncaring and have little interest in changing their style or pursuing personal growth. At the end of the day, they likely see their employees as a commodity and number that can be replaced rather than a person to invest in. If that is your current situation, run! Find somewhere else that will value and appreciate you. However, maybe you know a leader or are one yourself, that could benefit from raising your level of care with others to keep them around longer.
Taking care a level deeper
Some leaders may consider being friendly and courteous to their team as being a caring leader. While that is part of it, a good caring leader takes it a layer deeper with their people.
- Caring for someone is more than just being cordial, smiling, and asking how their day is going.
- Caring leaders listen without the intent to respond.
- Caring leaders truly know their people. Get to know three things about each person. Interests, hobbies, and family are good places to start.
- Caring leaders are curious. They ask their people for their insight and opinion.
- Caring leaders understand without having to agree or prove a point.
- Caring leaders share information and are as transparent as possible.
Showing wise compassion for those who are struggling
A great caring leader can get tough things done in a human-focused way. That means pairing and prioritizing well-being with your expectations.
Help them prioritize (and re-prioritize) the work – Roles are constantly being reshaped and reformed as layoffs happen, reorganizations occur and the business adapts to new needs. The team will feel your care as you help them prioritize the continuing change in work. Be an advocate for your team and help them understand when to say no to help protect their capacity and boundaries.
Lean into empathy to show appreciation – When times are challenging or when people are struggling, a part of the equation likely involves the amount of extra effort that they are putting into the work. Let people know that you understand the amount of effort that they are putting in and the sacrifice that they are making in order to get things done. Feeling like they are recognized and appreciated goes a long way for people to feel like their leader cares about them.
Create a community and safe space – Going through tough times are obviously not fun, but it can be more manageable when you have others to lean on and share your thoughts and feelings with. Build trust and transparency with a team (Shows: 323, 307, 305) in order to build a space where people feel safe to share their true feelings and vulnerabilities. A community inside the team can often be built without a caring leader, but it also excludes the leader and leans more negative and cynical in nature as a result. Get out in front and lead a positive work community for those you lead.
Just like everything else in life, balance is the key to being a caring leader for others. Be mindful of the relationship level and guard yourself against going too far. You aren’t called to be someone’s counselor (unless that’s your job). For the chronic complainers, have them write down their problems and solutions so can discuss them together. This puts the action of solutions in their court. For those who are angry, listen but don’t encourage the conversation. It will burn itself out quickly. Lastly, you want to handle every relationship and person with a great deal of integrity.
How are you doing as a caring leader? If polled, would your team call you a leader that truly cared for them? For many leaders, this is easier to master once they realize there is an opportunity to increase their level of care with others. Showing care to your team is a must-do in today’s environment.
Make a better tomorrow.