I recently was speaking to a former client of mine. As we caught up on this and that, we began talking about her transition into a leadership role. She mentioned how she kept reflecting on all the previous managers she’d reported to as she was mentally preparing to step into her new role. She thought of the managers who clearly exhibited traits she knew she didn’t want to emulate. The boss you don’t want to grow up and be like, we all know these.
My friend told me the most uncertain part of the whole mental preparation process was which positive leadership behaviors she wanted to exhibit. Hence below, I will detail a leader who fails to care for his employees and the converse, a leader who demonstrates caring behaviors.
A Non-Caring Leader Profile
How often do employees feel like they are taken for granted and are just a number? Many employees feel like a cog in the wheel of the big corporate machine. How many employees have been referred to as ‘bodies’? How many have heard their manager dehumanize employees by referring to them as expendable resources, merely plugs for the organizational gaps. However, regardless of which behavior these non-caring leaders exhibit, at the core of it is a lack of respect for human beings.
The Micromanaging Boss
The first stereotypical non-caring leader is the micromanaging one. Being micromanaged feels like having your freedom restricted. In this way, it is a disrespectful act. Why hire an employee and give them a role and responsibilities just to dictate their every move? It is dehumanizing!
Plus, not only is it a restriction on someone’s freedom, it completely inhibits their ability to grow. If this employee gets the opportunity to perform, they will most likely fall short due to the minimal experience they gained while working under their manager. As a result, their experience has negated their independent creative sense and minimized their unique perspective.
The Depreciative Boss
Essentially every living person wants to be appreciated. Recognition is huge; even my dog seeks recognition. How crummy does it feel when our workplace leaders fail to appreciate our every shining moment? I’ve heard countless employees share that their hard work and long hours go without notice. As a result, they imagine their hard work finding its home in a black hole, a place where all their accomplishments go to die. How disheartening is that!
Without a doubt, when bosses fail to appreciate their team, the team spirit starves away. Without any spirit, the team lacks motivation. Why work hard if no one cares? Turnover rates will reach a steady incline, and innovation will reach an all-time low. In Tinypulse’s Employee Engagement Report 2020, the number one finding was that “The Most Underrated Driver of Employee Happiness” is “Employees who feel valued at work tend to be happier, and it clearly reflects in industries where they receive ample recognition from their peers.”
How often we recognize our people for their hard work matters!
The Aloof Boss
In addition, another unfortunate recurring theme among organizations with poor leadership tendencies is managers who are aloof. They are distant, don’t listen well, if at all, and never engage in honest conversations that beget emotional connection with their employees. These leaders come off as constantly distracted. It would behoove them to connect with their people and expend energy and attention there.
Whether within the workplace or not, how many of us have ever been ignored or talked over? It is a crummy feeling. It belittles us and makes us feel unworthy of attention. Well, I am here to tell you you are worthy. You have value. If your manager fails to listen and engage with you, that is not your fault. They just need a lesson in listening!
Keep reading to uncover the converse profile of the Non-Caring Leader and how to remedy these destructive behaviors and habits which permeate leadership teams worldwide.
A Caring Leader Profile
The Empowering Boss
The caring leader purposefully delegates important projects to their employees and fully trusts them to problem-solve in their own unique ways, even if that entails making a few mistakes along the way. By surrendering a certain degree of hands-on control and entrusting your team with responsibility, you demonstrate self-confidence and the knowledge that true growth comes with the pressures of autonomous decision-making.
Read this article for three tried and true ways to empower your employees.
The Appreciative Boss
Employees need to consistently feel like their manager, team, and organization appreciates their work.
Meaningful work is what contributes most towards a positive workplace sentiment. Therefore, organizational leaders who curate a culture of appreciation ensure a positive workplace sentiment. In doing so, they bust through low morale and experience higher levels of productivity, engagement, and loyalty.
Listen to this podcast episode with Danny Langloss to generate new ideas for employee appreciation.
The Attentive Boss
This kind of Caring Leader feels like a friend and an ally in the workplace. They seek to understand you beyond your professional role. Listening is their strong suit and you leave interactions with them feeling cared for and heard. What a driver of employee loyalty!
Unsurprisingly, another of the top findings in the Tinypulse report pertains to management during Covid-19. Top finding number 5: “The Top Employee Concerns About COVID-19” states that “The trick for effective management during the COVID-19 crisis lies in listening to your employees and identifying their concerns about the pandemic.”
I have a guide ready for you to follow to create listening cultures within your workplaces in my book, The Art of Caring Leadership. Remember, you get to choose whether you will show up as the Non-Caring Leader or as one who consistently takes daily actions to show concern and kindness towards those who look to you for guidance. And for more resources on how to be a Caring Leader, join our Caring Leadership Community.