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Ever heard of Caring Leadership?

"We have entered an era where a Leadership crisis has emmerged... It's time to look beyond stakeholders' expectations and start caring more".

I came across an alarming statistic the other day : 7 out of 8 people go home every day feeling that they work for a company that does not care about them[1]. A statistic that is pretty much worldwide.

« A caring company ». Who's heard of that term before, let alone worked for one ? By definition, a company's dialogue is one based around numbers, performance and profits. « Care » is that touchy-feely aspect that not many corporate leaders believe has much place at all in the office, let alone is an issue worth addressing in the workplace.

Yet this is the very reason why employees go home after work feeling deflated, demoralized and devalued. Despite our subconscious knowing that "happy employees = higher-performing employees", us leaders are still holding on tight to our narrow focus of producing measurable results.

A leadership crisis has emerged.

blog-image-mirrorsLeaders generally don't believe it's their responsibility to actually care for their direct reports' wellbeing. This is where they are going wrong. Because if leaders want their business, team or project to move ahead rather than fall behind, their team members need to stay innovative, open-minded, creative and ready for change. And these traits can only come from engaged employees, employees who are proud to belong to a system[2], because the system cares about them and values the work they do.
Ever heard of the term « Hire for attitude, train for skills » ? This golden rule came about when Daniel Goleman[3] trailblazed the new thinking that EQ was the new IQ to get performance to rocket. Whilst IQ secures the know-how, experience, skills and work processes, EQ is the key to nurturing trust-based relationships and building synergies amongst co-workers.

But it doesn't stop there...

There is a third key that completes the workplace Equilibrium : The Meaning Quotient, MQ.
No doubt you have come across the theory that money doesn't motivate, at least it's not sustainable in the long run. In other words, it's not the monthly paycheck or end-of-year bonus that buys employee engagement. It's the MQ.

Bringing meaning into your employees' work lives, so that the result of their work is more important to them than completing it, is fulfilling their need for significance[4]. Employees who feel that their work matters are engaged : they are concerned with solving problems outside of themselves due to a sense of personal responsibility, and they are spontaneous which is great for bringing innovative ideas to the drawing board. Engaged employees are also more capable of conforming to rules and are self-regulating amongst their peers. Maslow explains that self-actualized people are a source of inspiration because they experience peak performance levels, which strengthen and transform them.

So now, dear leader, turn to your team members and ask yourself honestly how self-fulfilled you believe each one of them is today. Scale your answers from 1 to 10. Then perhaps you could start thinking about how you could adapt your leadership style, day by day, so that they feel they are more cared about. And you have happier people working with you.

[1] Barry Wehmiller's CEO Bob Chapman
[2] system : a generic term for team, department, business, company or any other organisational structure.
[3] Author of the book Emotional Intelligence
[4] Maslow's hierarchy of basic human needs

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