Having your ear (and a door) open to what is going on at your workplace is probably one of the most essential leadership skills that you, as a manager of a unified workforce, can have. Why? Because when you have a team where everyone is on the same page, working toward the same goals, and focused on the same outcome, you are clearly on the right path for success. More importantly, those who place a value on the wellbeing and satisfaction of their workforce tend to have the most cohesive and contented team, and guest satisfaction and revenue trends tend to always be at their best in this environment.

How do you accomplish this type of engagement? You have to care. It starts with having a heart and some compassion for the needs of your workforce. Have you ever found a high performing team that didn’t have good foundational values, that didn’t care about one another, and that didn’t put the needs of one another before all else? Not likely. To be at our best, we must know and show that we always care. Below are my five essential “CARES”: characteristics of the leader(s) who will develop and maintain a high quality, cohesive team.

As I see it, all that you have to do as a good leader is be someone who CARES. You must show…

• Compassion

• Attention 

• Recognition 

• Encouragement 

• Sharing

We tend to forget that we are dealing with people: human beings with feelings, fears and family distractions. When these concerns are not addressed, employees are distracted, worried and unproductive. While a paycheck is the ultimate reward, it is not the most essential one. I believe that good managers must place the needs of their employees before their own. They must rise above their own needs and be available and willing to address the concerns of their team. You have to remember that each of us has stressors that detract from our potential, our focus and ultimately our performance, especially when these distracters are not addressed. 

But how do we do this? By knowing what each of these characteristics are and what they can mean to our fellow human being. And, by caring and giving of ourselves to ensure the wellbeing of another person. 

What is compassion? It is caring about the well being and the fears/concerns of others and putting them before our own needs.

What is attention? It is seeing, hearing and listening to others not just with our minds open but our hearts open as well.

What is recognition? It is acknowledging someone, having patience and saying “thank you” for a job well done.

What is encouragement? It is giving positive feedback, explaining and training someone when needed and showing that you care with simple, compassionate acts or expressions
of concern.

What is sharing? It is giving of your heart and mind without hesitation to help them, showing them the way and setting them on a better path. It is establishing and living the example that you want others to follow!

I recently had the honor of helping a coworker in need after discovering that this person was homeless. I had no idea because human nature is to endure and not tell others of our needs. My heart swelled with compassion and tears filled my eyes. We can’t turn a blind eye. But when given the opportunity to help an employee, just take the reins without hesitation and work to find a solution to a grave matter. All turned out well! I find that if you listen, care and have compassion, there are solutions for any situation if we just put our mind and heart into it. 

I think that we can build strength in our teams by establishing foundational values for our teams. Decide the five most essential needs of your workforce and then put everyone on the path to acknowledging, accepting and addressing them. This sounds something like a family structure, with support and a network, right? As I see it, the most essential needs of each member of a family are: 1) love, 2) security, 3) sustenance,
4) support and 5) acceptance. When we help others to ensure that these five needs are met, we show that we CARE!

HR Question of the month: Please send your HR questions and concerns, or share your thoughts on your human resources challenges via email to the following address. Send input to vegaslinda89129@yahoo.com. Your comments, questions or concerns will help determine the direction for my next month’s column and earn you a copy of my book. Include your mailing address when sending your responses.