When you read the subject of this post what did you think? Did you think of the song by Dionne Warwick, What the world needs now?
I don't think the world needs love. Although it's a fine line, I believe that the world is in dire need of people who care. It's the quality that's lacking in the exchanges you're seeing play out in business, politics, and perhaps in your very own community's backyard. Think about these scenarios:
The common thread? The behaviour doesn’t show you that the person cared about you enough to provide good service, speak kindly to you, or safely share the road with you.
For you soft hearted, caring people of the world, you make caring about people look easy with your random check-ins, kind comments and ability to remember details that are important to your colleague/friend/family/doctor/masseuse/ etc. Injecting 'care' into how you show up in life is harder for some than others. However, as a leader, if you want to connect with, engage, and support your team, you'll need to show them that you care about them as a person. I've identified three ways.
Tip 1 - Be generous. Expect nothing in return. A European friend of mine immigrated to Canada a few years ago and had quite a culture shock. He was astounded by the number of people who appeared generous with their time at his workplace but afterwards, expected something in return. Where he was from, a handshake meant something, good deeds were done out of kindness, and no one expected something from someone else unless the person offered it.
Whether it's a small or large favour, perform it with no expectation of a return. Be a servant leader.
Tip 2 - Listen & Observe. Act on what you've heard or watched. We listen but don't necessarily hear the message. Stop multitasking (even if you claim you're great at it) and tune into the spoken words or the sentiment of the words left unsaid.
There's a lot we can glean from people if we care enough to hear their story and act on it in some small way (of course, with no expectation of a return).
Tip 3 - Ask more. Talk less. I often say, “stay curious”. You may have seen articles from scholars or business experts speaking of the power of curiosity. The skill of humbling oneself to give the stage to someone else is the practice used by past and present highly successful, innovative leaders. Staying curious doesn't happen naturally for most of us. We need to be consciously deliberate in our conversations to remain in that zone. It's harder than you think but it's invaluable if you master it.
As Ghandhi is most famously quoted as saying (or misquoted, depending on your view), "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Be the change you wish to see at your workplace, community, home, or with professional associations. You already know that it starts with you. What's your next move going to be?
How are you showing up at work or at home? Send me an email, as I'd love to help you explore that further.
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