Early in my career, I struggled with getting my employees to meet the objectives of their roles. There were times when they just weren’t achieving the results I expected of them.
There were several reasons for this, but the main one was that my definition of success was focused on meeting the stated, measurable objectives. Instead, I should have defined success as the combination of achieving results and developing my people.
Countless research studies have shown us that focusing only on what someone delivers and not on who they are as a person will get us nowhere fast. We will miss the opportunity to be seen as caring leaders, and we will likely fail to execute on the identified goals.
Xerox Corporation’s former chairperson and CEO, Anne M. Mulcahy, understood this concept. As she said, “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just as an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”
So, the secret to getting more from your people begins with you, as the leader, showing personal care and concern for your people and their development, both personally and professionally.
This can be accomplished in several ways, but here are four specific actions that you can implement today.
None of us wants to just be listened to. We want to be heard.
Hearing requires that we are engaging in the conversation, which we can demonstrate to the other person by taking notes, leaning toward them, maintaining eye contact and repeating back what we think we’ve heard.
What specific actions cause you to feel like you’ve been heard?
Everyone wants to feel like they matter — like someone cares about them as a person.
When we ask our team members questions that draw out their interests, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, desires, fears, ideas, and plans, they begin to understand that we genuinely care about them.
What questions cause you to feel like someone is interested in getting to know you as a person?
Just as your team members want you to care about them, they also want to know that you’re rooting for them.
When we’re involved in the process of setting goals with our team members, we communicate that we believe in our people. We show them that we want to help them discover what’s important to them and work with them to hit their target.
By listening actively and asking questions, we will be better equipped to help set goals.
What goal-setting help have you received that you can pass on to others?
Most people sincerely want input from others.
We can demonstrate our desire to help someone develop by providing them with insights, ideas, advice, and feedback based on our own personal experiences that are relevant to their situation.
How has feedback helped you in your development?
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These are four tangible and practical ways that we can all demonstrate care and concern for our people and their development.
What are some other skills or techniques you have used that could also make a difference in an employee’s growth and development?