As the winter calendar flips to February, love is in the air. From valentine balloons, aisles of red cards and those extra special chocolate boxes, we are reminded about a very basic human need – the need to belong. Belonging doesn’t have to be madly in love, it also shows up as friendship, trust, acceptance, and inclusion.
When employees feel like they belong, they’re much more likely to enjoy their work. As leaders, we have a choice about how we’re going to lead. Are we going to command our followers? Are we going to provide purpose and inspiration to those around us? Are we going to authentically care about those who choose to come into our workplaces every day?
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. John Maxwell
Many research studies have concluded that the relationship between an employee and their manager is the most influential factor when it comes to joy in the workplace. According to Businesssolver, “92% of employees said they would be more likely to stay with their job, if their bosses would show more empathy”.
What does it mean to be a caring manager? According to the Oxford dictionary, caring means that we display kindness and concern for others. In our culture work we find values such as respect, employee recognition, employee development, and empathy showing up in relation to caring.
When my CEO came to town, I would always pick him up at the airport. During the drive to the office, rather than dump all my issues in his lap, I would ask him what I could do to help him. It was my way of showing that I cared about him.
When you reflect on your relationships with your employees, your co-workers, and those above you, do you reserve respect to only a few? Do you really understand what brings joy to the people around you? Are you actively involved in working with your team members to bring out the very best in them?
“80 percent of Americans do not have their dream job”. Simon Sinek
Leadership guru Simon Sinek tells us that “Studies show that over 80 percent of Americans do not have their dream job. If more knew how to build organizations that inspire, we could live in a world in which that statistic was the reverse – a world in which over 80 percent of people loved their jobs. People who love going to work are more productive and more creative. They go home happier and have happier families. They treat their colleagues and clients and customers better. Inspired employees make for stronger companies and stronger economies.”
I think there is nothing sadder than having a workplace full of passive passengers just going through the motions. It’s one of the reasons that I got into the business of transforming workplace cultures. Happiness shouldn’t be earmarked for a chosen few. On any given work day, we spend over 50% of our waking hours on the job. As a leader in your organization, how are you contributing to the tone in your workplace? Do your employees leave your meetings feeling inspired, encouraged, and passionate about their next steps?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. Maya Angelou
Feelings. At the end of the day, that’s what workplace culture is all about. How do your employees feel when they’re in the presence of work? How do you feel? When we use values to describe our cultures, we’re asking participants to use words and language that come from the heart. When our hearts are warm, when we have a strong sense of belonging, then we have a platform from which to do our very best work.
This Valentine’s Day I invite you to reflect on the caring that’s going on in your organization. It’s not about one time Valentine’s cards, flowers or chocolates. Make caring a core component of your culture – every day and in many different ways.