I always used to tease my military students when I talked about HR in the civilian world that the majority of the work is really about the F-Word. Dealing with employees, we must pay attention to their FEELINGS! Gone are the old school days of “check it at the door.” We cannot expect employees to not be impacted by their feelings and what is going on in their lives.
It is critical that, as leaders, we pay attention to how our people are feeling. Are they happy, energized, engaged, and appreciated? How are they feeling about the organization and you as a leader? Some leaders are naturally better than others at this, but it is important that we all work on our emotional intelligence to be able to read all situations.
Sometimes we may have employees with major life milestones, and if we don’t acknowledge or understand how important it is to them, they may feel disappointed or disgusted. They may feel that you don’t care about them. If our people are going through hard times and we don’t find ways to support them, they may isolate themselves and disengage from the team.
Not everyone is a “people” person, and that is ok. If you know you’re not that person, have a good second in command or someone in your organization that cares about and feeds your people.
The more important your people FEEL, the more engaged and happy they will be. They will be more loyal and be better workers! People will give more when they feel you care about them! They will sell harder, recruit more, refer their friends, and overall be the organization’s biggest cheerleader, intentionally or unintentionally, just because they FEEL happy with their work situation.
Through my research on perceived organizational support, I found that it is not what the company actually does, but how your people feel the company values them that really impacts their employment decisions and attitude. Critical in this is that it has to be genuine. Your people can see through “fakeness” quickly. If you’re not a naturally caring person, it will take some practice… but I promise it will pay off!
Dr. Katie Ervin is the founder and CEO of Catalyst Development. She has contributed to Brainz Magazine and the Forbes Business Council. She is currently writing her first book.