“S wonderful! ‘S marvelous!
That you should care for me!”
What do you care about as a leader? Is it the same thing that your team members care about? What about the organization? What does it care about? As we discuss the tough (yet rewarding!) job of leadership here, we are defining a Care is the top motivating concern of an individual or group. Of course there can be various Cares competing at different times for the top spot. All have Cares: leaders, organizations, and team members, but do they align? And can all three prosper and be taken care of if they are not in alignment? So let’s explore the three Cares at play in leadership situations and how we can work to align them.
The Organization’s Care:
The organization’s Care is to ultimately produce enough results (money, service, actions) to survive in perpetuity. If it is a business, it needs to make enough products or services to make a profit and do it again the next day. If it is the military, the Care is to accomplish its missions, and to protect its country and citizens. A non-profit’s Care is to provide its service to its beneficiaries in some sustainable format. For all organizations, there is a Care or Cares that must be defined and supported.
The Leader’s Care:
The leaders Care is to balance both personal Cares (family, financial security) with the organization’s Care (quarterly results, profits) and the follower’s Cares. This is why the job of a leader can be so difficult. Many times some or all of the Cares can be in conflict, and this is why leaders are, as they say, paid the big bucks. (More on that later.)
The Follower’s Care:
The follower’s Cares can and do span the gamut. Follower’s Cares can be financial (a paycheck), personal (a passion for the work they do), or tied to meaning (being a part of something bigger than themselves). Every employee will have their own Cares, and many times these Cares can conflict with those of the leader and the organization.
So what to do as a leader? It seems like the situation is destined for problems and disharmony. Never fear though, there is hope, and a path forward. The path forward is conversations. The conversational path forward is the alignment of the Cares. The role of the leader is to have the conversations necessary to find the way to allow all three entities’ Cares to not only align, but to thrive together. What are some ways to do that?
1) Ask your employees/team members what they care about: Have you ever asked your employees what they care about? Why do they work? You might find that the answers they give are clues to how to align the Cares. For instance, if your employee loves the organization but does not feel like they are being well utilized, or that their job brings their passion alive, their Care is not being taken care of. They also might not have given it enough thought; your question could spur growth in a new direction. Your role as a leader is to find the ways to motivate them.
2) Talk about the Moods/Emotions inside your organization: Your job as a leader is to create moods and emotions in your team that bring out their passions. If you look around and see people who are bored, frustrated, resentful, and lack positive emotions, it is your job to change the dynamic and make those emotions more likely. Also, check in with yourself. If you find that you are living in negative moods/emotions maybe you are the one whose personal Care is not being tended to. How can you deal with your team member’s emotions if you are more negative than they are?
3) Tie your Employee/Team Members Cares to the organizational Cares: When the Cares of the organization, the leaders, and the team members are clearly understood the more likely they can be tied together with each person on the team working towards the common goal. If the organization’s mission is to change one small slice of the world, then find a way for each person on the team to not only contribute to that mission, but to also satisfy their own Cares in the process.
Remember how I said that leaders get paid the “big bucks.” Yes, the amount of bucks may vary greatly, but all leaders, if they truly are leaders, do get a huge reward. That is the ability to create good and Flow for all involved. A leader can help the organization meet its objectives, help team members feel involved, committed, and love their jobs, and also take care of his or her own Cares. That is the meaning of success.