When I spoke with Bill Treasurer, author of the upcoming A Leadership Kick in the Ass, we discussed the drastically undervalued concept of caring:
In Steven M.R. Covey’s bestselling book Speed of Trust, he makes the case for trust as a critical, highly relevant, performance multiplier. And according to Covey, “The best motive in building trust is genuinely caring about people.”
Caring is of utmost importance as a leader. It builds trust between you and the people you manage. Thus, leaders need to ask their employees about their personal lives and get to know them as human beings. In short, they need to care.
Bill shared with me a story of a leader at a construction company who came down hard on his team whenever there was a safety violation. He would fire those who were responsible.
The leader’s intent was to make the company safer and to show safety was of utmost importance. But the unintended consequence was the complete opposite. It created an atmosphere of distrust and made people feel they needed to hide near misses.
To address the issue, the company underwent a cultural transformation–when there was a safety breach, instead of the leadership asking, “Who did this?”, they asked, “What went wrong and how do we fix it?” This created an atmosphere of trust where people felt comfortable outing mistakes. And the result was a safer work environment–what the leader wanted all along.
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