Caring for Others

Why leaders need to practice caring for others

Change is happening at a pace never seen before, making it easy for leaders to get caught up in a world driven by metrics.

While metrics are undoubtedly important, they should never overshadow the fundamental human element of leadership: caring for others.

Empathy and compassion have always been a cornerstone of effective leadership and have become increasingly important.

In this edition of The Intentional Leader, I explore what leaders can do to show they care.

Establish Healthy Boundaries: Healthy boundaries are essential for a healthy work-life balance. They do not mean that you don't work on evenings or weekends. Instead, you set boundaries where constant excessive work might negatively impact your well-being. Show you care by conversing with your people on how much time they need to invest into exercise, family, sleep, leisure activities and social connections.

The former chairman of a Singapore property developer believed wholeheartedly in the importance of family. If you left the office after 7:30 pm more than twice a week, you would get a call from his assistant asking why you were working late so much.

Manage Workloads: Be mindful of how the workload is distributed within your team. Avoid overloading individuals and be aware of their capacity to prevent burnout and stress. Show you care by conversing with your people on how they are coping.

Promote Physical Well-Being: Physical health impacts energy levels, cognitive function, and productivity. Create opportunities for your team to get some exercise into their daily routine. Ensure your people aren't working day and night and get adequate sleep.

A 3-10 minute daily stretching routine is a practice dating back a century that many Japanese companies embrace to this day.

Promote Mental Health: Mental health directly affects our physical wellness. It also influences emotional and social awareness, how we regulate feelings and respond to adversity. Create opportunities for your people to incorporate self-reflection into their daily routines. Encourage your people to engage in activities that help them relax and rejuvenate, such as listening to music, meditation, and painting.

Promote Social Health: Social health is our ability to interact and form meaningful relationships with others, and studies have shown that the quality and quantity of our relationships affect our mental and physical well-being. Create opportunities for your people to strengthen their social health, as it will help them to build interpersonal relationships with others.

Demonstrate Genuine Curiosity: How well do you know your people? What are they working towards? What's important to them? What do they find meaningful in a career? Converse with your people regularly to better understand and support them.

Express Gratitude: Take the time to express gratitude and show appreciation for your people's efforts and contributions. A simple thank-you or acknowledgement of their hard work can go a long way in boosting morale and motivation.

Douglas Conant, the former CEO of Campbell's Soup Company, believes in honouring people. He is known for writing over 30,000 thank-you notes to his employees to honour them for their contributions.

Build a Positive Work Environment: Foster a positive work environment where team members feel motivated, inspired, and empowered to do their best work. Make sure you understand what makes your people tick. Recognise and address negative behaviours or attitudes that may undermine morale and productivity.

Provide Flexible Work Arrangements: Recognise that every team member has unique needs and responsibilities outside of work. Offer flexibility in work arrangements to accommodate individual preferences and circumstances.

Care When it Counts: Be empathetic and supportive when team members face personal or professional challenges. Offer a listening ear and provide assistance or support as needed.

Provide Help: Encourage your people to speak to an experienced healthcare professional if they experience weight loss, lack of sleep, difficulty concentrating or harmful thoughts.

Lead by Example: Set a positive example for your team by demonstrating self-care. Share what you are doing to care for yourself.


In conclusion

Leaders can make a positive difference to the people around them just by showing they care. Be the leader you wish you had.

Northpoint Logo

Northpoint was founded on the belief that leaders have the power to ignite change and make a positive impact, and that everyone has the potential to make a difference.