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Empathy skills: Showing more caring ways to employees

I am a strong advocate of the principle "leave your personal problems at home" when you are at work. My rationale is that it is impossible for any manager to "babysit" their people as, after all, everyone has personal problems, including me, and it is impossible to solve them all, as well as them being none of our business. But, of late, I have been getting into lots of arguments over this topic with my peer managers, as to whether solving staff's personal problems are part of a manager's responsibility. What is your view on this?

Professional Stand: If you are a caring manager, you will know that it is humanly impossible to separate the personal and professional lives of anyone, including yours. We bring our entire self into all situations whether you like it or not. Ask yourself whether you are able to feel real good in office when "something not so positive" has happened at home? Would you wish that during the time in your office that there is someone close whom you can confide in, and perhaps get some support on what you are going through? Or rather you prefer to have "cold-blooded colleagues and bosses" around you when you are in need for some kind of help?

The Bottom Line: Paying attention to the personal interests of your people goes a lot to show that you are a caring manager, and a person. It speaks so much for your character and values. A short pep talk where you inquire about a staffer's family before you get to the business of work would motivate the person so much. Indeed it gives the person a very nice feeling when they know that someone cares for them. It is the best boost you can give to someone, and it is certainly more powerful and lasts a longer-term than a pay increase! What's more, you increase your personal power when you can do this. Getting things done and walking the extra mile for you are usually the outcomes a kind and caring person will get from others.

Powerful Questions: Is caring for others one of your values? Do you feel good when you turn away from helping someone? When you need help yourself, what do you want a close person to do for you? What will living out this value do for you to live a more fulfilling life?

GETTING REAL WITH REALITIES

Getting the loyalty and |commitment from people these days is very tough. I really do |not understand why their work attitude is so negative. It is always all for themselves, and little for the company. If only I can have 30 per cent of them, I will be most satisfied. Unfortunately, I am not even getting half of it. Very consistently, I do not see any change in the way they look at their contribution to the organisation. It is really an uphill task trying to get them to push a little more, like working an extra hour or rescheduling their annual leave. I used to be gentle with them; coaxing them, leading by example and even telling them about the rewards for their sacrifices to the organisation, but all these do not seem to work. I am feeling agitated and frustrated with this now as a lot of the department plans cannot take off well because I do not have the team behind me. Indeed, I am a "lone ranger" in the workplace. What do I need to do to change this scenario?

Work Horse: One hard truth that you need to face up to is to know that you are renting a worker's behaviour, and not buying their soul. While you have the right to demand their behaviour during the work day you need to know anything more at the end of the working day is indeed their call. Taking it from this perspective may probably make you "more reasonable", re understanding and even more humble when you want your people to do the extra for you. It is important to know that it is perfectly natural for them not to have the same dedication to work like you. The reason you are the boss is because you see the work world from a different playing field than them. A few of them may want to be like you but many may simply choose to be ordinary working people. They want to enjoy their work by being productive, and be acknowledged personally and financially for their work, and then leave for home to enjoy time with their families, friends, and activities.

The Bottom Line: So you being a little more philosophical with this truth will take the stress out of you and further change your outlook and ways when you make demands on their time and efforts. You can ask for their time as a favour and not as an obligation that they must do it for you. Even when you set the good example of coming early and going late and hoping that it will work but if it does not, be understanding about it. Tell yourself that you should not make a covert demand on them. When you see it this way, you will see "miracles" happening to you.

Powerful Questions: |What are your gains when |you exercise more understanding and tolerance on your people as opposed to demanding that they give their extras to you? How do you personally want your boss |to treat you in the same area? When you soften on this, what values in you are you living out? What will your life be like from then on?

Note: Corporate Coach Academy is a coaching school in Asia to certify leaders of all backgrounds to become manager-coaches or professional certified coaches in this region. Log in www.corporate-coachacademy.com or email contact@corporate-coachacademy.com for details.


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