If you’re not leading and taking care of your employees, they will find venues for caring for themselves: like leaving your company. Learn ways to improve your caretaking at work for better employee engagement and business results.
My company, Inspiring HR, recently created new company values to guide how we work with our clients and colleagues. As an HR consultancy for small businesses, we focus on uncomplicating HR and empowering our clients. One of our new company values is Caretaking. We want our clients to feel comfortable asking us for help and our employees to care for their colleagues, which is why we’re learning to be both better leaders and caretakers.
Modern leaders are caretakers at work: they care for the whole needs of their employees. You might not solve all of your employees’ challenges as a business leader. But you can help your employees to feel cared for, heard, and appreciated.
The opposite of a modern leader is a “legacy leader.” Legacy leaders follow the outdated playbook of management and leadership: they act as if employees are lucky to work for them. They treat employees as a means to a business outcome end. Legacy leaders care about one thing: getting the job done: even at the expense of their employees’ well-being.
Are You a Modern Leader or a Legacy Leader?
Do you invest in creating a work culture that encourages and supports your employees to bring their whole and best selves to work? Or do you use phrases like “Sometimes you need to break a few eggs to make an omelet?”
Caretaking at work means two things:
On one level, you stay in tune with your employees’ feelings about working in your company. You conduct regular one-to-ones, Stay Interviews, helpful performance evaluations, and satisfaction and engagement surveys (and follow through on the results!).
But on another level, caretaking at work is about focusing on your leadership growth.
- Checking in on your emotional intelligence capability and improving how you connect and relate to your employees?
- Supporting the whole needs of your employees? You might not solve their home challenges, but you can support employees facing difficulties outside of work.
- Adjusting your communications style and approach to match the needs and styles of your employees?
It’s Not Your Perception That Counts: It’s What Your Employees Feel
As a leader, you have a lot on your plate. You’re focused on business results and the next 100 items on your To-Do List. That’s why we consult and coach our clients to open up their “antennas” to have a higher level of awareness of how employees feel about the company and if their leaders are true caretakers.
There are many ways to demonstrate a true caretaker approach at work, such as the checklist I shared above: honing your emotional intelligence, addressing employees’ whole needs, and adjusting your communication style and approach.
Still, reflecting is the most essential “ingredient” to embodying a caretaking approach to leadership.
Reflect on your leadership style: are you intentionally connecting with your employees? We know many leaders of remote teams who include photos and names of their employees on their office walls to ensure they are reminded to check-in.
The most significant reflection, though, is in reaffirming the Why behind your business: the mission and purpose of the company and how that mission and sense of purpose can be made real for the employees. Then, reaffirm the Why with your employees and how their direct contributions support the higher purpose. This creates a positive ripple effect across the company.
Caretaking at work takes work. But it’s worth it: for your employee engagement and retention goals and the positive and supportive culture you foster and nurture.
Not sure what to offer or where to begin? Contact us at Inspiring HR. We work with small businesses to uncomplicate HR and empower business leaders.
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