Updated on March 3, 2021 by Cyril Abello 2 Comments
You do not need to be a rich philanthropist or a social worker to care for other people. Even as an ordinary citizen, there are simple yet effective ways you can do to be a more caring and helpful person. Those small ways could have a great impact on someone else’s life.
If you want to develop a heart for compassion, then you can start with these small steps.
1. Sincerely ask people how they are.
The first thing you need to learn is how to care for what others are going through. By developing an interest in others’ lives, you become sensitive to the different needs of people and how you might be able to help them. Listening to their stories can touch and move your heart.
2. Be observant of the needs of others.
Another way to be sensitive to the needs of people is by being observant. There are some people who are too shy to ask for help, but if you are just observant you will know they actually need it. For instance, if you have a classmate whom you seldom see to eat lunch nor snacks, then it would not be rude to bring extra food for him/her.
3. Use social media to connect with people.
Instead of just using your Facebook to post about your OOTD or your summer getaway, why not use it to connect with people who are far away from you. This way, even if you are distant, you can still show you care for them. Find out how they are doing, what is new in their lives, and actively encourage them if they share their troubles with you. It is rude to only remember connecting with people when you need something from them.
4. Create a schedule to check on the people who matter to you.
Being busy is not an excuse to forget about the people you care about. Make time for them intentionally by setting schedules of when to spend time, call, or chat with specific persons. Consistent communication with them will make them feel truly valued.
5. Try to help even in small ways.
Helping others does not always have to be by giving money. Sometimes, your presence is the best help you can offer to anyone. In addition, even simple ways can be a big help, such as helping someone with his/her school project, offering a ride home, or letting someone borrow a book s/he needs for school. photo by MatanVizel
6. Send encouragement notes.
All people face problems of some kind. You may not be able to help them all, but your words of encouragement can mean a lot to them. If you know someone going through some hardship, you can send him/her a note of personal encouragement or a Bible verse that can remind him/her to remain strong.
7. Serve instead of waiting to be served.
Another way to show care for others is by serving them. Even just the simple way of filling someone’s glass with water or passing the dish across the table can touch hearts. How much more cleaning your sick friend’s house or doing your parents’ laundry? Surely, they will be able to feel your care for them.
8. Give without expecting anything in return.
Whenever you decide to give to others, make sure that you do it with clear intention. Give because you want to bless or help them, not because you want them to do some favor for you. In connection with this, instead of lending someone money, just give them any extra money you have and assure them that they do not have to pay it back. This will not only be a relief for them, but this will save your good relationship from being ruined because of possible payment delays.
9. Be approachable.
Have you ever felt like people are hesitant to approach you for help or accept your offer? Probably you have an intimidating aura because of your social status or profession. If this is the case, then try to be more friendly by initiating conversations, smiling at those you meet, and calling people by their name. Be someone they can be comfortable to be with.
10. Share a meal with someone who does not have one.
If you have the extra money, it would not be burdensome to buy an extra meal for someone you know has nothing to eat. It could be a classmate, a neighbor, or a stranger who lives in the streets. Your simple act of kindness could be an answered prayer for someone who has faith that God always provides.
11. Listen to those who need someone to talk to.
You do not have to be a guidance counselor to encourage someone who is emotionally down. Sometimes, all you need to do is be available for the person and be willing to listen to his/her sentiments. Even if you do not offer any advice, your assurance that you care could be enough for that person to feel better. Photo by HansMartinPaul
12. Pray for others.
Another way to let others know you care is by praying for them. You can ask your family, friends, or colleagues about their prayer requests so you can include them in your personal prayer time. It may not be visible to the eyes, but prayers can actually do more than your money or physical help. You just have to believe.
Have Compassion that Moves
It is not enough that you feel compassionate towards someone in need. Even if you shed tears out of pity if you do nothing about the situation, then your compassion is useless. For this reason, see to it that you have the kind of compassion that moves mountains—meaning it should lead you to take action.
Be a person who acts more than s/he talks. If you know someone needing help, then find out what you can do for him/her. If there is nothing you can do, then maybe you can connect him/her with others who can. Any small but intentional help can create a big impact on that person’s life.
Like many things, kindness is a quality that children learn over time and through practice. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to encourage your child to be a kinder, gentler person. (For starters, you can share books that encourage kindness.) Research has found that the desire to help and comfort comes just as naturally to humans as being self-centered or hurtful. “It’s almost as though we’re born predisposed to be upset by other people’s pain,” says Alfie Kohn, author ofВ The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Altruism and Empathy in Everyday Life.
How Empathy GrowsВ
Empathy вЂ” the ability to understand another person’s feelings вЂ” develops over time. AВ 2-year-old may try to comfort a crying playmateВ by offering her own pacifier or blankie. While she is not able to understand why her friend is crying, she remembers times when she felt sad and knows what comforts her.В At 3, children are more aware of others, but they still have trouble relating to how others actually feel. They may delight, for example, in knocking down someone else’s block tower and not understand why the child who built it is so upset.
By age 4, children can better understand when they’ve hurt someoneВ and can sometimes offer an apology without being told. They are also quite empathetic about another child’s injuries.
By the time children are 5 or 6, they often can share more easilyВ and take turns. And they are able to discuss what it means to be kind and can brainstorm ideas for how they might help people.
13 Strategies for Encouraging Kindness
The following suggestions will help you to teach your child about being goodhearted and compassionate. But in the words of author/psychologist Dr. Julius Segal, nothing “will work in the absence of an indestructible link of caring between parent and child.” When you kiss your daughter’s boo-boos or read cozy bedtime stories to your son, you are giving your child the base that enables them to reach out to others.
1. Believe that your child is capable of being kind.В “If you treat your kid as if he’s always up to no good, soon he will be up to no good,” Kohn cautions. “But if you assume that he does want to help and is concerned about other people’s needs, he will tend to live up to those expectations.”
2. Model positive action.В What you do and say is critical; let your child catch you in the act of kindness, such as driving an elderly neighbor to the store or offering a comforting word to a friend. Most parents start this role-modeling from day one. “They talk while feeding their baby, saying, ‘a little bit of food for baby, a little bit of food for me,'” says Stacey York, a child development instructor. “This lays the foundation for a lifetime of give-and-take and openness with people.”
3. Treat your child with respect.В This can be as simple as alerting your child that playtime is almost over. “I always wince when I see parents suddenly decide it’s time to leave the playground and snatch their children away abruptly because it’s time to go home,” Kohn says. “That’s a disrespectful way to treat a human being of any size.” You might also point out successful conflict resolution through real-world experiences. At home, for example, you could say to your child, “Mommy and Daddy don’t always agree, but we listen to each other and treat each other with respect instead of putting each other down.”
4. Coach your child to pay attention to people’s facial expressions.В This is the first step in learning how to understand another’s perspective. “We are more likely to reach out to other people in need when we are able to imagine how the world looks from someone else’s point of view,” Kohn says.
5. Let your child know often that how they treat others matters to you greatly.В For example, a child might think it’s funny to see someone get splashed if a car drives by and hits a puddle. You can point out, “That lady is not laughing at what happened. Look at her face. She looks sad. Her clothes are dirty and wet now.”
6. Don’t let rudeness pass.В You might say, “Wow, that cashier must have had a really bad day to talk in such a mean voice to us at the supermarket. What do you think?” This teaches your child that when someone is nasty to you, you don’t have to be mean in response.
7. Acknowledge kindness.В Be sure to show your child that you notice when someone does something nice. For example, if someone slows down to let you exit a parking lot at a busy intersection, say, “It was really nice of that driver to let me out.” Likewise if your own child treats someone nicely, be sure to acknowledge and praise her effort.В
8. Understand that your child’s perception of differences in others comes into play.В Young children notice differences in people, just as they notice them in animals and colors of crayons, so assume the best. If your child says something socially inappropriate, it’s important to explore the comment calmly. First ask, “Why do you say that?” Then you can correct the misunderstanding by more fully explaining the situation.
9. Be sensitive to messages that your child picks up from the media.В Children are just as likely to imitate kind actions they see in movies and read about in books as they are to act out other types of scenarios. Be aware of the programs and movies your child watches and be available to talk about what they see. Also, encourage reading books that focus on caring and compassion.В
10. Explain that calling someone names or excluding him from play can be as hurtful as hitting.В If you hear your child calling someone a “poo-poo head” in the sandbox, go right into problem-solving mode with both children. Point out how the child who was called a name is upset: “Can you see the tears on his face?” Recognize that the real problem may be that the name-caller wants the giant sand bucket. Ask, “If you want something, what’s another way you can get it without hurting somebody else?” It’s also important to make sure the child who has been called the name isn’t feeling victimized, and encourage your child to apologize.В
11. Avoid setting up competition within your family.В If you say, “Let’s see who can clean up the fastest,” you risk setting your kids up as rivals. “When children are pitted against one another in an effort to win at anything,” Kohn says, “they learn that other people are potential obstacles to their success.” Instead, you could encourage them to work together to get the job done and praise them for their group effort.
12. Show your child how to help people in need.В You can encourage your child to donate a toy he has outgrown to the annual toy drive, while you buy a set of blocks to give away. He can also help you make cookies for a shelter and come with you when you visit someone in the hospital or nursing home.
13. Be patient with your little one. Kindness and compassion are learned and life presents challenging situations even to adults. Being a loving parent and a great role model will go a long way toward raising a wonderful, tolerant human being.
When our son Luke was about six months old, Bonni had one of those moments every parent cherishes.
She was strapping Luke into his car seat when he suddenly looked up and did something he had never done before. He looked right into her eyes and smiled. It wasn’t one of those coincidental moments either – it was the long, sustained eye contact that would warm any mother’s heart, accompanied by a genuine grin.
Bonni remembers that for about ten seconds, she felt more connected with our little boy than she had ever felt. She stopped and smiled back. It warmed her heart so beautifully.
And then she realized that he was simply smiling at his own reflection in her sunglasses.
The incident still makes both of us laugh, because it perfectly captured human nature on both sides of the interaction. Most of us are quick to think about ourselves in interactions with others, before considering the other party.
While most of us perceive ourselves to be caring, our actions don’t always align with these intentions. Since I’ve not yet learned how to work around human nature, I’ve done the next best thing and created some regular practices that will better align with how I want to show up in interactions.
Here are three practices I do that may help you as well:
1. Stop and Think
Like a lot of people in the workplace, I’m diligent about preparing for meetings and other professional interactions. However, I found over the years that others would often ask about me, my family, my career…much better than I would do for them.
After one too many of these interactions where people asked more about me than I did about them, I resolved to take a moment to stop and think about the other party when planning meetings. I vowed to ask people about something important to them that didn’t necessarily relate to the topic and hand (especially if I hadn’t seen them in some time).
My initial fears that I wouldn’t think of anything to say diminished after I tried this a few times. I discovered that I already knew a lot about people if I simply took the time to stop and think about what was going on in their careers and lives.
2. Check-in Reminders
I love the people I know who naturally think to call their colleagues, friends, and family members and check-in regularly to keep connections strong…especially since I’m not one of those people.
I know how important it is and like it when people do it for me. I just don’t tend to naturally think to do this or take regular action to reach out, unless prompted by some other reason (business, scheduling, holidays, etc.)
To challenge myself to take the action I want, I put a system of regular reminders in my OmniFocus task management system so that I remember to check-in with clients, colleagues, and friends on a somewhat regular basis.
The reminders and actions that follow help me to be more caring than I otherwise would be.
3. Capture Details
I work with people at Dale Carnegie who have amazing memories for names, events, and what’s happening in people’s lives – much better than I do. While I can almost always remember something about a person (see point #1) it’s not always the most important thing to them.
To get better at remembering what’s most important to others, I keep notes. I try hard to record the names of spouses, children, birthdays, and other important things to others when I hear them. I use my contacts app or Highrise to record these details so that the next time I connect, I can recall what’s most important.
I’m reminded often that the smallest action is worth more than the grandest intention. I’ve learned that my good intentions aside, the real way to be a caring person is to consistently use practices that help me follow-though to be the person I intend to be.
What consistent actions do you take in order to care better for others, either professionally and personally? Tell us in the comments below.
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In today’s society, it often seems as though being cold towards others is seen as being “strong,” and showing feelings and emotions is equivalent to being “weak,” especially for men.
People say if you don’t care then you’ll never get hurt, and if you hold no expectations for people, you’ll never be disappointed. While, in theory, these statements are true – they don’t take into account one very important piece of the puzzle:
We are all human, and we all have wants, needs, and emotions. Ignoring our very most inner core is, I would argue: A weakness.
Here are seven reasons why caring is actually a strength.
You can build a support system.
It has almost become a badge of honor to say you don’t “need” someone. Of course it’s true that nobody needs someone. Nobody needs to have a friend or a significant other – but it does improve life in multiple ways.
We all find ourselves going through a tough time every now and then. Maybe you’ve lost a job or ended a relationship. Maybe you’ve gotten sick, or maybe you’ve even lost someone you care about. Regardless of how big or small your challenge is, it’s hugely helpful to have people you’re close to in your corner.
This will allow you to borrow strength from them during hard times and more easily find your way back to happiness.
It gives you the ability to help others.
If someone walks around with the presupposition in their head that people are naturally “bad” or “evil” or untrustworthy, how do you think they will approach those they don’t know? There will be an automatic aversion away from kindness, because that person doesn’t deserve it anyway, right?
How can we function and progress as a species if this is how we see each other? I believe each person is inherently good. The goodness is buried deeper inside of some than others, but overall – we just want to be loved, cared for, and respected.
Whether it is giving a dollar to a homeless person or starting a fundraiser for a cause you’re passionate about, without choosing to care for others, your ability to make a difference gets taken away.
You can learn and grow from relationships.
Relationships are a lot like playing the lottery. You might have to lose repeatedly, but if you never play, you’ll never win. Each person we encounter and build something with, no matter how long or short, provides us with an opportunity to learn and grow as a person.
If we refuse to enter into any intimate situation because we think we might get hurt, we never have the opportunity to have these experiences.
It allows you to learn about yourself.
When you care for other people, the experience becomes internal as well as external. If we aim to have self-awareness, what we love (or don’t love) about another will open our eyes to what we love (or don’t love) about ourselves as well.
If we shut ourselves off to the world, we only allow stimuli into our lives that we choose. This makes our personal growth process look more like walking down a narrow hallway, rather than walking out into an open field where the possibilities are endless. If we open our minds to being influenced by others, we never know what we might learn.
It allows you to learn about others.
One of the things that makes life so interesting is the vast diversity of people on our planet. Each one of us has a unique background, upbringing, thought process, and outlook. What an amazing opportunity it is to be able to tap into any mind on the planet simply by having a conversation and asking questions…
Without this care or desire, we only spend time with those who are just like us, and can never develop into a fully well-rounded person.
You will be more successful in life.
I know, I know. You don’t care what people think of you, right?
Well, when it comes time to get a job, have a friendship, start your own business, or enter into a relationship…it matters very much what other people think. If you are outspoken and adamant about the fact that you don’t care about people or what they think, then others will have no reason to trust you or think you have any allegiance to them.
This is not about people-pleasing, this is about successfully co-existing with others.
You will be happier.
It’s simple, really. Emotional connections with others make us more fulfilled and help us lead more complete lives. Shutting out this possibility may eliminate risk of being hurt, but it is also eliminating the possibility of finding happiness with another.
Bonus: You will make others happier as well. One of the best things we can feel is the love from someone else. Their genuine caring for our well-being. You have the power and ability to give this gift to someone, just by caring about them.
There is no doubt, the majority of relationships in our society end, especially these days. This has always been seen as a sign of failure. If something is going to end, then why bother in the first place? Why not just close yourself off from caring about anyone so you don’t have to feel the hurt?
Movies end. Books end. Having a pet in your family ends. Nice dinners end. Does that mean none of them are worth experiencing? In fact, it’s just the opposite – these are the things that make life worth living. The fact that things end is what gives them meaning. This is what makes experiences special, to enjoy and cherish them while they last.
Do not let the harsh world rob you of your emotions. Do not let the cruelness of another deprive you of the deep love you can feel within yourself. We are all humans, and we can all thrive in this life together, if only we would care a little more.
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Four Ways Teachers Can Show They Care
Research suggests caring relationships with teachers help students do better in school and act more kindly toward others.
If I asked you to tell me what you remembered most about your favorite teacher growing up, I bet you wouldn’t say much about the subject matter. Instead, I’d expect you to describe how he or she made you feel as you learned that subject matter—the sense of excitement or discovery you felt, or the safety to take chances and make mistakes, or the confidence that you were valued as a human being, warts and all.
According to research, few factors in education have a greater impact on a student’s educational experience than a caring relationship with his or her teacher.
One researcher described it this way: Imagine two teachers teaching the same lesson on poetic construction. One is very impatient with students and the other supportive. Knowing only that, we can probably guess which students learned the lesson better.
Science has found that students who have caring relationships with teachers are academically more successful and show greater “pro-social” (or kind, helpful) behavior. A caring teacher can transform the school experience especially for students who face enormous difficulties, such as dropping out or dysfunctional home lives. One student who faced these kinds of hardships told a researcher that the greatest thing a teacher can do is to care and to understand. “Because if not,” he said, “the kid will say, ‘Oh, they’re giving up on me, so I might as well give up on myself.’”
Fortunately, research has identified practical tips for teachers to help them build caring relationships with students. Here are some of the tips I find most important:
1) Get to know your students and the lives they live. This is especially important if your students are from a different cultural or socio-economic background than you. Numerous studies have shown that cultural misunderstanding between teachers and students can have a hugely negative impact on students’ educational experience. But research has also shown that teachers who visit students’ homes and spend time in their communities develop a deep awareness of students’ challenges and needs and are better able to help them.
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A six-day workshop to transform teachers’ understanding of themselves and their students
If your time is limited, then ask students to complete an “interest inventory,” which can be as simple as having students write down their five favorite things to do. Their responses will give you ideas for making the curriculum more relevant to their lives—a sure method for letting students know you care about them.
2) Actively listen to students. A teacher who actively listens to students is listening for the meaning behind what students are saying, then checks in with them to make sure they’ve understood properly. This affirms students’ dignity and helps develop a trusting relationship between teachers and students.
If the chaos of the classroom doesn’t allow you to give this kind of focused listening to a student who really needs it, then set a time to talk when there are fewer distractions.
3) Ask students for feedback. Choose any topic—it doesn’t have to be academic—and have students write down, in a couple of sentences, what confuses or concerns them most about the topic. By considering their feedback, you are showing students that you value their opinions and experiences. It also creates a classroom culture where students feel safe to ask questions and take chances, which will help them grow academically.
4) Reflect on your own experience with care. Oftentimes, we unconsciously care for others the way we have been cared for—for better or worse. When one researcher interviewed four different teachers at the same school who all shared one particular student, she found that each teacher cared for the student in the way she had been cared for as a child. It didn’t even occur to the teachers to ask the parents—or the child himself—what the child’s needs might be. Instead, they made assumptions about the child’s background based on their own childhoods; as a result, the child received four different types of care—which may not necessarily have been appropriate to his/her needs.
Reflecting on how you were cared for or not cared for as a child will give you insight into the kind of care you might be extending to your students, and allow you to adjust your care to fit their needs.
As teachers, we often don’t realize how even the smallest caring gesture can have a huge impact on our students. As evidence, I’d like to share the story of Sam, a high school student from south central Los Angeles who had transferred high schools three times before being interviewed by researchers for a study.
After years of feeling uncared for in school, Sam was very surprised when he received a phone call at home from his current school’s office, wanting to know why he was absent that day. His other schools, he said, never called to check on him. A small act of caring—but here’s how Sam said it made him feel:
When they call my house if I’m not here, they’re real friendly. My auntie has an answering machine, and sometimes I’ll hear a voice start to leave a message like ‘Hi Sam. If you’re there, we’re wondering why you’re not in school today…’ If I hear that, I pick up the phone and explain why I’m not there. And they believe me. They trust me, so I trust them.
Published On: January 03, 2018
Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) programs prepare ADN nurses for a higher level of clinical practice. Nursing students learn about applying evidence-based research, critical thinking and scientific knowledge to the delivery of healthcare. They also gain deeper knowledge of medical equipment and technology. However, caring is the foundation of nursing.
How Is Care Defined?
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines caring as ” feeling or showing concern for or kindness to others.”
Why Is Caring an Important Part of Nursing?
Patient care is not just about the medical aspect of nursing. Patients may experience stress about their conditions, injuries, procedures, surgeries, or recovery. It is important for nurses to treat a patient’s physical ailments as well as his or her emotional needs.
When nurses show empathy, they foster a collaborative relationship with patients, which can help in rooting out causes, symptoms or explanations that result in a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatments. Open communication and mutual respect between nurses and their patients can result in these positive patient outcomes:
- Shorter hospital stays.
- Alleviation of pain.
- Decreased anxiety.
- Optimistic outlook about recovery.
How Is Caring in Nursing Cultivated?
By instilling nurses with the values of patient-centered care, nursing schools and healthcare organizations help them develop a compassionate approach to care. Hospitals may use role-playing or simulation to teach nurses the skills they need to bond with their patients. Here are some ways nurses can show they care:
- Make eye contact.
- Greet your patient by their name.
- Sit in a chair next to the patient when conversing.
- Listen attentively without interrupting.
- Carry out requests.
- Ask patients what they need.
- Answer questions.
What Are the Five C’s of Caring?
Sister Simone Roach came up with the five C’s of caring: commitment, conscience, competence, compassion, and confidence. The five C’s are considered beneficial to improving coworker and patient relationships and increasing a nurse’s chances for career advancement.
Conscience and compassion directly relate to providing the best possible care to patients in a morally responsible and considerate way. Nurses should always stay aware of how they would want to be treated if they switched places with their patients.
What Is Watson’s Theory of Human Caring?
Dr. Jean Watson’s caring theory consists of three major elements:
- Caritas factors.
- Transpersonal caring relationship.
- Caring occasion/caring moment.
According to Dr. Watson, the caritas factors are about building and maintaining an “authentic caring relationship.” In addition, nurses must be present and supportive of a patient’s feelings without crossing intimacy boundaries or showing judgment.
The transpersonal caring relationship is about the nurse’s moral commitment to connecting with patients, while the caring occasion/caring moment is the suitable time nurses find with patients for caring to occur.
Is It Necessary for Nursing Students to Learn About Watson’s Caring Theory?
Rosemary Thuet, Director of Education at Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, thinks that there is a solid basis for teaching nursing students about the caring theory in BSN programs.
John Coldsmith, Chief Nursing Officer at UHS/Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, says, “When you look at the caritas of Dr. Jean Watson, that’s exactly what we want in the workplace and the work environment. We want to have that level of professionalism, that level of respect for whatever role the healthcare worker is in that there is that level of communication and caring and support that goes along with the caritas.”
To provide quality, compassionate care, nurses have to put aside personal biases and prejudices. They need to make a conscious effort to treat patients humanely. Patients should never have their dignity compromised. By communicating with patients, nurses can avoid unnecessary suffering and errors.
Nurses who truly care for their patients while providing medical assistance create a rewarding experience for everyone.
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September 1, 2020 at 6:21 am | Posted by Levi Armstrong
I love that you said that one of the wonderful benefits of being a caregiver is that you get to feel good about yourself and have a more in-depth outlook on life. It’s also great that you mentioned that it would bring purpose to my life. My grandmother was the one who raised since I was a baby, which is why I’m dearly close to seniors. Perhaps I should look into becoming a caregiver since I believe this career would be suited for me. Thanks for this! https://americancaregiverassociation.org/
October 11, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Posted by high school student trying to write an essay
what date was this published?
October 14, 2019 at 8:14 am | Posted by bpetersen
August 18, 2019 at 7:36 am | Posted by sandra wilkinson
i took care of my mother after my father died. she fell and broke her hip but came home from hospital. she had the bginnings of dementia and wa admitted to hospital with stomach problems. she died on my birthday 15 feb
October 12, 2020 at 10:08 am | Posted by Ahmad Beyrouthy
July 25, 2019 at 9:34 pm | Posted by Jennifer Jackson
My husband and I took care of my grandma who had severe dementia we lived with her because she couldn’t live alone any longer, she would pull knives on us and not recognize who we were. And then my mom got stage 4 cancer and my family and I took care of her and unfortunately had to watch her and go through a lot she just passed aon my birthday July 8th so I would like to help other people if possible
Teddy Roosevelt enjoyed a tough-guy persona, but one quote widely attributed to him shows his softer side: “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Those are profound words from a Rough Rider and wise ones to keep in mind as a leader.
Like most business professionals, you want your company to be successful. You focus on delivering phenomenal customer service and offering quality products. But are you overlooking something obvious on your road map to success? Are you forgetting to create a workplace where employees feel nurtured and engaged and are less likely to leave as soon as a better offer comes along?
In other words, are you showing you care?
From neighborhood mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 500 conglomerates, every business could benefit from a heavy dose of caring. In an environment where workplace stress is linked to a loss of $500 billion each year, as well as employee cardiovascular disease and death, caring is a much-needed commodity. Research shows that caring work environments lead to less worker burnout, more positivity, improved interpersonal engagements, heightened attentiveness to customer relations, and a better quality of life among personnel.
Clearly, caring belongs on any winning game plan.
Forging a Tight-Knit Culture of Caring
How does a culture of caring come to fruition? It’s the result of deliberate executive- and C-suite-level behaviors that trickle down to every individual and team. The perks of a caring culture are not medical benefits or vacation days — although those are important, too — but rather those little workday actions, reactions, and interactions that multiply over time.
Developing a caring culture starts with a few initial steps aimed at holding on to top talent and building an enviable dream team.
1. Know what drives and motivates your employees.
What do your workers love about their jobs? What keeps them excited and engaged? Don’t know? Just ask. Then use their answers to improve individual work experiences by allowing employees to explore their passions while remaining true to the company’s mission and vision.
2. Be a transparent leader.
Trust is a direct result of transparency. Share information whenever possible. This keeps destructive rumors and half-truths at bay and helps employees feel that they are valued and that they belong. Most people strive to be a part of something bigger. Give them a stake in the company by holding regular update meetings and truthfully answering questions.
3. Let employees take the reins.
Your staff members have plenty of ideas that could make your company stronger. Have you asked for their feedback? Allow them to occasionally try to test initiatives. When applicable, put workers in responsible roles to stretch their abilities and inspire confidence. Yes, they’ll sometimes fail. When they do, help them rebound without judgment.
4. Be upfront about performance goals.
When employees don’t know what management expects of them, they become frustrated and disengaged. Be clear about your expectations, and show managers how to do likewise. No employee deserves to find out after the fact that they could have improved if they had only known what you wanted to see.
5. Focus on strengths, not weaknesses.
It can be tempting to emphasize employees’ weak areas, but that leads to dehumanization and demoralization. Rather than constantly picking at workers’ problem areas, look for opportunities to recognize them for the good they do. In a Gallup poll, about two-thirds of those employed by an organization that focused on their strengths felt engaged in the workplace. By comparison, the same study showed that less than one-third of people working in a weakness-emphasized culture felt similarly.
6. Provide competitive compensation.
Your workers can’t be expected to work for a pittance. They deserve fair compensation based on market rates. It’s impossible to keep talented workers if you aren’t willing to pay them wages that make them feel rewarded. Why risk losing an outstanding employee over a salary bump when it would cost so much time, energy, and money to find and train a suitable replacement?
7. Offer rewards and celebrate wins.
You shouldn’t have to look far to find examples of inspired leadership in your company. Are you regularly rewarding these acts of excellence? Productive, happy workers must be noticed and incentivized. Make coaching, mentoring, and even career-development assistance available as rewards to keep your top players aware that their contributions are respected and applauded.
Creating a caring environment may seem like a soft perk, but don’t make the mistake of underestimating its power to entice employees to give it their all and stick around: Your employees will be happier on a daily basis, and your bottom line will thank you, too.
Cultivating a culture of caring begins at recruitment. Want to learn more about how you can take your recruiting process to the next level and better engage employees? Download the e-book The C-Suite Handbook to Strategic Recruitment.