If you search in your favorite search engine (ideally one that doesn’t track you) what Caring Leadership is, you’ll find out that most articles refer to the way established leaders within an organization can motivate and inspire their teams by genuinely caring about their well-being. This results in a healthier organization, and ultimately increased productivity thanks to a higher employee engagement.
However, I want to approach the subject from a different angle. To me, caring is not yet-another-way to lead. It’s actually the reason why you end up leading. You get to be in positions of leadership –– not to confuse with management –– because you show that you genuinely care about you, your own work, your peers, your company, and your customers. I compiled a list of examples of how you can show that care about these different dimensions.
Caring About You and Your Work
You double down on the quality of your work. You deliver in time. You set expectations, and then exceed them.
You care about self-awareness. You try to be conscious of your potential biases. You are introspective, thoughtfully reflecting on how you think and behave, and you care about having a consistent relationship between the two. You care about making informed decisions.
You care about discovering the things that motivate you, and the ones that don’t. You seek understanding of what you’re naturally good and not so good at. You are thoughtful about your career decisions so that they’re an opportunity to demonstrate your natural abilities, but at the same time challenge you by taking you out of your comfort zone in the right direction.
You care about improving and fixing what you can. You don’t wait for the next person to stumble with an issue, if you can avoid it. If what you want to improve needs that someone else makes a decision, you present the problem, tentative solutions, and a recommendation.
You care about constant learning and development. You are confident in what you know, but humble so you can openly question your knowledge in case you need to re-invent yourself.
You are curious. You ask questions and poke people’s brains. You’re interested in lessons others can teach you, specially if they’ve already walked the path that you’d like to follow.
You care about surrounding yourself with talented people that you can learn from. You understand that leadership is not about being an expert at everything, but about trusting those that are experts on their field.
Caring About Your Peers
When someone asks for your help and you are available you say yes, and you do it happily. When you’re not available or you’re not the right person to ask, you say no and refer them to someone that can better help them, because you care about not becoming a blocker to them.
If you find a learning resource that you know it could benefit someone else, you share it. If you know something someone else wants to learn, you reach out proactively and offer your help.
You provide constructive and actionable feedback at the right time, in the right place. You make sure to ask if it’s OK for you to share your opinion with them. At the same time, you constantly ask for feedback, because you care about what your peers thinks of you, and you’re interested in doing a better job everyday.
You act as a catalyst of trust and team building. You make sure everyone is heard. If someone is trying to speak up but they look hesitant, you invite them to share their thoughts, and show genuine interest on what they’re saying. When planning team activities, you take everyone’s needs into consideration.
You recognize when you’ve made a mistake and you take corrective measures. Then you share with your peers the lessons you learned so they can learn with you.
You care about aligning your team goal’s with the goals of each individual team member, to give them a sense of purpose and belonging.
You communicate in a clear, accurate, and concise way. You care about the message you deliver and how you deliver it, because you are conscious of other people’s time –– and feelings. You don’t make assumptions, and always verify if what you think you understood is what the other person was trying to convey.
Caring About Your Company
You care about nurturing the company’s culture. You are an advocate of what your company stands for. You share the company’s values, and make sure of becoming a reflection of them. You care about inviting other people in that also share those fundamental values.
Caring About Your Customers
You care about the quality of the product or service your company provides to your customers. You try to find ways of adding more values to customers, because you understand that customer experience and service doesn’t have to be explicitly stated in your job description.
This list is very personal. It’s what works for me and what I push myself to do more as frequently as possible. There might be other things that work for you. Feel free to share them in the comment area below.