You know the saying: “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. If you’re a manager, you should take heed of this.
A very tiny percentage of direct reports I’ve interviewed have indicated that their manager needs to be more knowledgeable about a particular subject matter or more skilled at selling widgets. Yet time and time again, when I ask employees what their manager could do to be more effective, the answers most often come back with variations on a theme of “show me that they care”.
Many managers get so caught up in the day to day work of keeping themselves and others on task and working toward achieving the bottom line that they forget about the people who are making it all happen. A leader creates, sustains and repairs relationships. They care about the people who are getting the work done. What have you done lately to show your leadership? How are you demonstrating to your employees that you care about them?
Start today to:
Get to know them. It’s not that hard, it just takes some intention and time. Walk around. Greet people. Pick up the phone and call those who work remotely. Ask them how they are doing. Ask them about their life outside of work (family, hobbies, etc.). Ask them what you can do to make things easier.
Delight in their individuality. People don’t come to your organization as clones. Everyone is different and each deserves to be treated as a unique individual who is full of potential. Get to know what they do well, what they enjoy doing, and give them the freedom to do it their way. Enjoy and celebrate their uniqueness.
Support them. When things get tough, be there to support them. When things are going well make sure they know that you’ve noticed. Remove the barriers to their ability to achieve their full potential by guiding, giving feedback, and coaching them.
Stretch them. One of the highest compliments you can give an employee is to provide an opportunity for them to stretch; it shows that you care enough to see them achieve something more. Watch for those who are ready, and encourage them to stretch in assignments that will help them to grow and develop.
Demonstrate your gratitude. A quick thank you on the run to your next meeting is not always enough. Reach into your heart and express your gratitude for the things they do that have meaning to you and the organization. Look them in the eye and let them know what they did and explain how their actions touched you and others around you.
Show them that you care. Reach into your heart to repeat the above over and over again.