I can still remember him. He was my boss when I was in the radio business years ago and he left a lasting impression on me for one reason: he gave a damn.
In fact, John cared more about me and my career than he did about the needs of the company, at least, that’s the way he made it seem.
How about you? Can you remember a favorite boss? Why do you remember them? It was likely because they cared too.
They cared about you, your career, and your future. They wanted the best for you, even if it meant you had to leave and go in a different direction.
Today’s fast paced environment leaves little time for caring. That’s why the caring boss is rare, and the most valued kind of leader.
People will work hard for someone who cares about them.
The caring leader is special in these 9 ways.
1. The caring leader shows a sincere interest in the welfare of his or her people. They take the time to ask about our health, our dreams, our concerns, our family and our goals – and, they actually listen to the answers.
2. The caring leader is there for the long term. Rather than being resentful, the caring leader will congratulate departing employees, wish them the best and make themselves available as a mentor if and when needed. Even though you leave the organization, the caring leader may still be there for you, in touch long after you leave.
3. The caring leader provides the tools for success.Caring leaders arrange for training, support and encouragement, knowing that as we get better, so too will the organization.
4. The caring leader practices honesty. Caring leaders won’t lie to us. They will tell the truth and commit to do their best in serving us and the organization.
5. The caring leader takes the time to listen. They won’t write off our concerns as trivial. While they may not always be able to help us, they will at least hear us out and empathize.
6. The caring leader follows through on promises made. The best bosses I have had did what they said they we’re going to do, and if circumstances made that impossible, they would explain why and vow to keep going at the earliest opportunity until success was achieved.
7. The caring leader points out our talents and positive traits. They want to build on our strengths, more than change our faults, knowing that exploitation of strength is the fastest route to success.
8. The caring leader cheers for us.They genuinely want us to succeed.
9. The caring leader arranges help when needed. Rather than quickly dismiss people experiencing depression, grief or life trauma, the caring leader will arrange appropriate help to see us through, so we can emerge as positive, strong contributors.
Back to John, my former boss for a minute.
Never before, and not since, have I witnessed a more caring manager.
Like all department heads at one time or another, he had to let go of some people. But all the people he ever dismissed maintained a very high regard for him. That’s because even after letting them go, he would stay in touch and see how he could help them.
In some cases, if a person acquired special skills he later needed, he would hire that person back.
I don’t know where John is today, but I know one thing – his caring, remembered to this day, created incredible loyalty and dedication. In the end, it was not only we who served under him who gained, but the entire organization was the better for it.
It’s not about title. It’s not about seniority. It’s not about being a “boss”.