It’s Okay to Care

In my last post I talked about finding your own talent, and gave an example of what passion looks like. What happens if you’re leading a team of people – do you care what their talents are?

When many leadership and management coaches talk about talent and passion they usually do so on a very personal level. Your personal level. They don’t talk about learning what your staff’s talents might be, and how to line those talents up with their job responsibilities. It seems almost like you’re crossing a personal boundary to discover somebody’s passion or natural ability. It’s one of those squishy, icky soft skills that so many of us shy away from because it makes us uncomfortable.

And getting straight answers when selecting staff is difficult. The question “what’s your passion?” might get you an answer like “I’ve always loved scanning and filing. As a child I always kept my room very neat.” Any guesses what kind of job this person is interviewing for? While I’m sure that such people exists and are sincere, as a boss in a job interview your B.S. meter is going to read high on that kind of answer. You’re going to want to probe. Answers we can trust come with an established relationship, which you will build over time.

All great companies cultivate trust as part of their environment. They get the most out of their people because they genuinely care about them. All people want to know that somebody cares about them as a person. If somebody at work cares about them, then they’re going to look forward to work and will care about doing a good job.

But when I say companies create trust, what I really mean is that the people that belong to that company actually do the work of building trust by building relationships.

As managers, we can define our jobs finding the right people to deliver the desired results. A big part of that is developing (aka caring about) the people who work for us. How can we fit the right person to the right job, motivate them in the most effective way, and develop them as human beings, if we don’t know who they are and what drives them?

Does this sound manipulative? Sure, it sounds that way. If you consider providing a work-place where the staff actually look forward to coming to work, know what’s expected of them, and have the skills and tools to do the best job possible every day as being manipulative, then it certainly is.

If you’re not comfortable getting up close and personal with people, and need to keep them at an arm’s length because one day you might have to fire them, then I totally respect that. Just don’t complain when you can’t figure out a way to get your team to work together, or how to motivate your staff, and coach somebody whose poor performance if uncorrected will lead to their dismissal. If you can’t or won’t learn the skills to manage people, and the intestinal fortitude to use those skills when needed, then maybe you should consider not being a manager.

Yes, it hurts to fire somebody. It should hurt. If it doesn’t hurt then you’re not doing your job as a boss. Lack of pain means you have no connection to them. You haven’t spend the time and effort to do everything reasonable to help that person not get fired. It probably means you’re one of those bad bosses you’re used to complaining about.

Do you care?


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