When we first starting working on our leadership here at Luck, we were told we had to care about each other. We debated what that meant for two years.
We are not a touchy-feely company—our main business is making small rocks out of big ones. We deal in stone—strong, enduring, resolute. We are not soft, we are not fluffy, and above all, we do not “care about each other.” Sure, we care about our customers. We care about safety. We care about quality. But about each other, no way. That’s what paychecks and families are for. Who needs caring at work?
As it turns out, we all do. As a leader, caring about others means showing them that you value them, that you see their worth, that you want a trusting, open relationship with them. It’s more than paychecks and spot bonuses. You can’t just say “I care,” . . . caring is more than words, it’s also action. (And no, not firing someone isn’t the same as showing them you care.)
Some of you may feel that caring has no place in modern organizations, that caring will only lead to lawsuits and laziness. I’d argue that if you want the most out of your people, if you want them to provide the highest levels of service, caring has a place. Let’s consider the business case for caring: As a leader, what keeps you up at night? Turnover? Conflict? Productivity? Profitability? Service? Costs? All of these issues can be improved through strong relationships, trust, and employees who care about one another as well as your customers. The vast majority of employees receive little to no recognition at work, and only 20% or so of Americans are highly engaged in their jobs. We leave our bosses, not the organization. Imagine if we were to add a little more caring to the workplace? What impact might caring have on service, on turnover, on productivity? Would it make you more competitive in your markets?
Southwest Airlines thinks so. No stranger to leveraging culture, Southwest has made caring part of their competitive advantage. Gary Chapman (The 5 Love Languages) thinks so too. He has written a book about appreciation in the workplace.
Showing others that you care is unique to the culture and to the person. The trick is showing others you care in a way that means something to them but is also authentic to who you are. For those of you who are caring impaired (and I am speaking from personal experience), here is a short list of things you can do to show others you care about them:
- Tell them you care
- Share what you appreciate about them
- Thank them—and let them know how they have made an impact on you
We spend a great deal of our adult lives at work. The relationships we form there are just as important and those we build in our personal lives, so why not give them the attention they deserve?