There’s an old saying that, “People don’t really care what you know, until they know you care.” This is good advice for leaders who often get caught up and lose focus while dealing with all of the performance pressures at work. Sometimes it feels like you have to choose between focusing on people or focusing on performance. This is a false dilemma. As Ken Blanchard has advised over the years, the best leaders focus on both people and results at the same time.
In case you’ve gotten off- track with this, here’s a short acronym to help you remember to stop and take the time to show that you CARE about the people you work with, and who report to you.
Connect. Take the time to lift your nose from the grindstone today and check in with your people. How’s it going? What’s happening in their life? What are they excited about? You might be surprised at how long it’s been since you checked in, or how much has changed in their lives. Take a minute to reconnect.
Acknowledge. Listen to what people are telling you. Truly hear what they are saying. As a leader, it’s easy to get caught up in telling instead of listening. How are your people doing on their tasks and key responsibility areas? Chances are that they are just as busy as you are. Take a minute to acknowledge the work they are doing and the effort they are putting into it.
Respect—the skills, effort, challenges, and needs that your people have. What are their strengths? What challenges are they facing? Where do they need help? What can you do to help them succeed? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your primary job is to evaluate performance. As a leader, your primary job is to help your people succeed.
Encourage. Everyone can use a kind word, a pat on the back, and a word of encouragement. Who in your group has been up against it, fighting fires, chasing deadlines, and making sure that things get done? Who seems burnt, or worn out, from all the work they’ve had to accomplish? Take a minute to show your appreciation, offer some encouragement, and let them know that you appreciate what they’ve been doing.
In today’s hectic work environment, it’s easy to neglect the people side of work. Don’t let that happen to you. Relationships are an important ingredient to an engaging work environment. If you’ve been out of touch lately, use these four practices to reconnect and show people you care.