Ask a group full of professionals what they want out of a manager, and chances are you’ll hear “someone that cares about me” at least half of the time. While it seems like an obvious and simple desire, the sad reality is it’s a rarity.
According to Gallup, managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units, yet only 36% of U.S employees are engaged in their work and workplace.
While employee engagement is undoubtedly a complex topic, engagement improves when managers genuinely caring about the people they lead.
Employee engagement improves when managers genuinely care about the people they lead.
Webster defines caring as “to look after and provide for the needs of.” It doesn’t take skill to care. All that’s required is to have a heart for people and the courage to do what’s in their best interest, even when it’s not easy.
Do’s and Do Not’s
Megan Witherspoon had a viral post on LinkedIn got me thinking, effective leaders do and don’t care about many things; what are they? Based on my personal experience, studying over 60,000 managers and coaching leaders at every level here is my list. Let me know in the comments what you would add or subtract:
Effective leaders DO care about:
- Their people and helping them reach their potential
- Their organization and team culture
- Each team members attitude, including their own
- Each team members effort, including their own
- Respect and trust between team members
- Proving the best tools and environment to help achieve success
- How people are leading themselves
- How team members are growing and developing
- The achievements and results of their team
- Empowering people to make decisions
- The core values and character of people
- The mental, physical, and financial health of their team members
- Getting the truth on the table
- Communicating clear standards and expectations
Effective leaders DON’T care about:
- Who gets the credit
- Where work is done
- How work is done
- Pleasing everyone
- Always being right
- Changing their mind
Does a Long List Mean Leadership is Hard?
Often when lists are long, it means the job, role, or task is difficult. Leadership is no different. However, just because leadership is hard doesn’t mean you can’t be successful, especially if you start the complex topic of being a successful leader through the correct lens. I defined a leader in Building the Best this way,
“A leader is someone whose actions inspire, empower, and serve in order to elevate others.”
Instead of thinking about leadership as unattainable or something only meant for certain people with unique talents, start thinking that it’s for you. The most essential element of leadership isn’t talent; it’s choosing to lead right from where you are.
“The most essential element of leadership isn’t talent, it’s choosing to lead right from where you are.”
Leading from where you are starts with a decision to embrace two primary things:
When you can get in the headspace that you are responsible and are willing to take ownership of things in your sphere of influence, you are leading right from where you are. It’s my hope you will not only embrace this challenge but you will invite it into your career. Because if there is one thing I know for certain, we need more people choosing to take responsibility and ownership to lead right where they are.
What did I miss out on? Tell me in the comments
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About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.