Leadership Series (18) Importance of A Caring Leader. By Victor A. Imhangbe

Using the word of Marshall Dahneke: Caring leadership requires trust, trusting others and, more importantly, others trusting you. For trust to exist, a caring leader must have integrity. I appreciate that integrity means different things to different people. A common understanding of integrity is being internally consistent; behaving consistent with beliefs and values, thus being whole. A practical aspect of integrity in leadership is that it promotes trust and fairness.

From personal experience, organisation where leaders sincerely care about the well-being of their people than they do to productivity and profitability; usually resulted in general greater sense of enthusiasm and engagement within the ranks. An organisation culture that support employees initiatives and ideas, contribution of team effort, will naturally make the employees takes responsibilities of the outcomes and profitability. When supervisors, managers and leaders sincerely care about their followers personal problems, they tend to feel more appreciated and resolute to give their best.

A practical example wills suffice here below:

Starbucks is recognised for treating its employees, also known as partners, well. The coffee giant offers insurance benefits, stock options and retirement plans. But back in 1997, Starbucks faced a crisis when tragedy struck and three employees were killed during a robbery in Washington, D.C. The outstanding leadership of CEO Howard Schultz was demonstrated when he flew straight to D.C. and spent a week with the co-workers and families of the three employees.

While some leaders might have stayed as far away as possible from this tragic situation, Schultz’s natural leadership traits prevailed. With compassion, approachability and a dedication to meeting his partners’ needs, he did what was right. As a result, the public viewed him and Starbucks more favorably.

I would like to make reference to a book by Rosenbluth and his co-author Diane McFerrin Peters. “Hal Rosenbluth’s story is one of the great unsung business success sagas. Titled “The Customer Comes Second”. Some experts; offer proof that his leadership style is one for the new millennium.

Another practical example to illustrate a caring leader in action as opines by Scott Pickard; in his article; “How a Caring Leader can Create a Culture of Support”. Hal Rosenbluth describes how he changed the culture of Rosenbluth Travel, the company founded by his grandfather, from highly political and ego-driven to one where senior leaders cared specifically for and about their direct reports. Those managers then demonstrated the same caring to their direct reports, which rippled through the entire organisation to create the best customer experience in the industry. The result? Over a relatively short period of time, the shift to caring about the employees transformed his small family business into the largest privately-held travel company in the world, grossing over $6 billion in revenues by the year 2000.

The strongest, most effective leaders I’ve met care not just about the business, but about the people in it and the people impacted by it. Plus, they show they care through their words and actions, even proving how they care for themselves and their family by taking unplugged vacations and continuing their own professional development. Care shouldn’t be a four-letter word in our workplace today; and the best leaders know it.

I would like to use “Ace Hardware” the chain of retail stores known as “The Helpful Place.” as another example to buttress the important of a caring leader. Ace has operationalised the word helpful into its culture. Helpful goes beyond being cheerful or nice; it is a special kind of customer service and it gives Ace Hardware stores a competitive edge. They want to be known as the most helpful hardware stores on the planet … and they are. Even though Ace operates in a very competitive industry, going up against much larger hardware and home improvement stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot, it wins the customer service game by going beyond being nice and friendly – all the way to helpful. Shep Hyken (2013). Did you know their secret? They know: as do other successful companies; that amazing customer service begins by first focusing on the employees by caring.

If your corporate culture is to focus on customer satisfaction but don’t know how to get started? My advice is to better serve customers, the first step is to focus on your employees. Watch the amazing result as the multiplier effect will end up delighting the customers. Things have to starts on the inside. Offering amazing customer service should start with amazing the employees. You have to create an employee-centric workplace to experience the basis of a customer-centric business growth.

To fully engage the members of your team, recognize their individuality: what stimulates them and keeps them striving to do their best: while maintaining a collaborative environment where everyone is working toward the same end goal. It is a difficult task to organise a team of people to have a common understanding and belief. It entails working with people of diver’s cultural background with different personalities, each bringing to work different drivers and motivations. You must understand individual member that made up a team closely to identify; what stimulate them and keep them striving to do their best, before you engage them with a task and at the same time maintain a collaborative work environment where everyone is working toward a common goal.

Steps To Effective  Employees Caring

What techniques do you need to carry along your employees that will really show them that you care about them personally and their needs? Abigail Phillips; business writer and Strategist provide the following seven steps a leader need to achieve this:

1. Listen.

One of the most important traits in leadership and managing employees is the ability to listen. Take the time to sit down with employees and listen to their thoughts, suggestions, comments and concerns. Giving members of your team a voice, individually and as a collective group, will boost morale and thus business growth.
Listening is not just about receiving your employees’ ideas but also acting on them when it makes business sense. Prove that you’re willing to trust the input of your employees. It will pay dividends in the long run.
2. Get to know your employees.
Gone are the days when people expect leaders to sit behind a closed office door and dictate from on high. In modern business, the best leaders and entrepreneurs get to know their employees on a personal level as well as professionally.
Ask employees about members of their family, what they enjoy doing outside the office and the parts of their role that they like or dislike the most. Demonstrating an interest in your employees as people, rather than as cogs in a machine, will ensure that they feel valued.

3. Be Approachable.
A manager’s display of willingness to be consulted by staffers is crucial for business growth and success. A strong leader gives staffers an opportunity to be heard and let’s people feel comfortable doing so. This type of leader makes time for employees and listens to their ideas, at a meeting, during a private conversation or in the corridor. Being approachable will not only result in your building stronger relationships with members of your team. It will give you an opportunity to hear new ideas and demonstrate to staffers that they are valued members of the business.

4. Express Sentiment.
You don’t need to be cold to earn respect and expressing sentiment or emotion is not a sign of weakness. Adopting a human approach to business management will ensure that you build a happy and motivated team of people around you. Don’t be afraid to empathise with employees about the fear of being taken advantage of. Your team will admire your approach and work harder for you, knowing that you respect their personal needs.

5. Don’t Excessively Judge Others.
Rather than being overly judgmental of staffers, try to help members of your team work through the issues they’re having. If someone is struggling to grasp a new business concept, don’t write him or her off, but instead take a little extra time to walk the person through the process. Invest time and effort in your team.

6. Be Mindful of Those Around You.
Astute business leaders and entrepreneurs are tuned into the people who work around them. If an employee is having a bad day, go easy on that person. Likewise, know when individual players are feeling fired up and motivated and challenge them accordingly. Pay attention to the people around you and work with their moods to help them develop as individuals. This will in turn help the company expand, diversify and grow. It will also make for a dynamic corporate culture.

7. Hold Yourself Accountable.
Although leadership is collaborative, hold yourself responsible as well as members of your team for performing tasks according to high standards. Work hard, show that you care about the business and its aims and be sure to arrive at the office each day with a positive, upbeat attitude. This type of influence will rub off on employees.

Lead from the front and constantly ask yourself, Am I helping my employees succeed? Am I giving them the tools they need to flourish? Am I showing them that I care about their progress? Answer yes to these questions, and you’ll be using your influence as a manager to move the business forward with the team. What other ways or method do you think can be use that is not mention above?

On the contrary; having a negative or destructive leader always leads to negative results. According to Dr. Annette Roter: “followers will either look to move away from that leader or they will jump on the negative leader’s bandwagon. When this happens, a division occurs within the team. In some cases, the leader intentionally seeks to create turmoil in the team. High drama, gossip, team sabotage, high emotions and anxiety will occur on the team of a negative leader”.

The above examples has gone a long way to show us the essentials of showing care to employees as long term techniques to boost productivity and enhance a win-win relationship between employer and their employees. Our next series will focus on how to avoid making impossible promises. Your opinion and feedback is appreciated on the comment column. Do you like the piece? It’s always good to share.

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Victor Imhangbe

Hey, there! I am Victor Imhangbe and I am the brain behind this great lifestyle blog where you get to read everything from life to education to fashion and pretty much about everything else. I invite you to keep keeping tab on our latest news and updates!

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