Having looked at the importance of trustworthiness in a person's ability to lead others, it is time to look at the second major factor that was found by the Gallup research. Effective leaders care about the people in their teams.
The way that a leader treats people in their team can either build work satisfaction and a positive work environment or lead to the development of an unhappy workplace in which people feel de-valued, unheard and used.
Many organizations have faced financial stresses in the past few years and this has brought out the best and worst in leaders. I have heard some very sad accounts of people being mistreated by leaders who just didn't care. On the other hand, many leaders have kept on valuing people and treating them well and still have around them a team of committed and happy staff. Here are some thoughts on caring.
Care in your own way. Not all of us are soft and mushy "care bears", but we can all show care in ways that are consistent with our personalities. At the end of the day, it's not about being a certain personality, but whether your team believes that you do actually care about them.
Caring is valuing. Sadly, all over the world, we see examples of people who are being de-valued by their leaders. People feel cared for when they know that their leaders value them as individuals who need to be respected, protected, defended, helped and acknowledged.
Caring is meeting needs. Caring is shown in words and actions. It responds to the needs of those in the team.
Caring must be genuine to make a difference. Most people will be able to tell if your care is real or just a put on.
It is always a wise investment to put time and resources into caring for the members of your team. Even if one day they leave your team, they will probably leave on better terms and with good things to say about working in your organization rather than warning people to stay away.
How do the members of your team know that you care for them?
" Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it" - Marian Anderson
Steve Bagi is the principal of Actuate Consulting and a consulting psychologist and speaker who has over 25 years of experience in leadership and organizational development. He specializes in helping staff teams to understand and develop their strengths, leading to greater individual and team effectiveness. Although based in Australia, Steve works with leaders throughout the world.