Show Your Team You Care--And Not Just About Deadlines

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Categories: Teams

In the process of putting together a new course on Leadership and The Power of Acknowledgment, I've discovered some interesting information about employee engagement. A survey by The Gallup Organization over a 30 year period posed the following question to millions of employees: "Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?"

Isn't that an interesting question? Most of us might not even think of it as a measure of how engaged we are in our work. But if the truth be told, doesn't the slightest personal attention -- even a small inquiry about an ailing parent -- make you feel like you're more than just a worker to your manager?

I love the example cited by Stan Shimizu of Resourceful HR LLC in the podcast about reward and motivation that he and I recently did for PMI. Stan explained how the executive team at his former company made sure, in spite of the long hours everyone normally put it, that he left the office every day by 5 p.m. to tend to his wife who was having medical problems.

The executives even sent meals to his home. These actions meant more to Stan than monetary compensation could have and made him feel tremendously valued as a person. He states that these simple, kind acts increased his dedication and loyalty by 1000 percent!

Here's another wonderful example. Roberto Daniel, vice president of engineering at Invensys Controls South America, regularly spends one-on-one time with each of the people he manages.

During this hour, the person is not "allowed" to talk about work at all -- just about personal interests, family, hobbies and the like. His people look forward to it, as does Roberto. He considers it an essential tool for getting to know his people and what they are about, and he says it makes a huge difference in the productivity and engagement of the team. Since 2006, he has had over 200 of these face-to-face meetings.

Especially in this tough economy, we all have to work doubly hard to let our people know that they are valued and appreciated. Let's not let this simple pathway to productivity and well-being be overlooked!
Posted by Judy Umlas on: March 25, 2010 03:40 PM | Permalink

Comments (14)

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Dhiraj Bablani
Truly appreciate the point of view. Human aspect for every manager to learn and appreciate it's importance.

Dheeraj Kumar
I completely agree with the above article & in fact, I have been following the same since 2008 onwards. I have seen a great positive shift in people's attitude towards work/relationship after that.

Major Saroya
I am agreed with this concept and I am also sure that this kind of work environment brings high productivity. We are human first then employee, therefore we should take care of each others. If employee is happy & delighted then, in my opinion, his or her productivity will be higher than unhappy employee.

Judy Umlas
Hi Dhiraj, It would be great for all of us if every manager learned to appreciate the importance of truly knowing the people they manage. Everyone wants to feel valued as a person as well as a worker. Thanks for your comment!

Justin Manning
The only thing worse than being managed by someone that doesn’t view you as a human is being managed by someone that will ask these questions just for the sake of asking. I was recently managed by an individual that asked questions about your personal life as though he was reading from a script. I certainly want to feel valued but the person on the other end has to actually care. Some leaders will just view you as dispensable equipment just like their laptop or phone; it’s the reality of human nature.

Ken McDonald
Celebrating success and socialising together gives you the chance to get to really know the people you work with.

The gift is remembering the people and activities that other people are passionate about outside work and talk them regularly about those thing. The more you have in common the better the communication.

Victor Gonzalez
Completely agree.

Unfortunately, we have to cope with leaders and companies that do not treat people as persons, but as numbers or assets. Have you realize that some enterprises (maybe many) say People is Value or Principle for them ? I have not known someone talking about Virtues.

Fortunately, PMI members and followers of this kind of forums understand what behaviours we can practice, develop or avoid when managing individuals and teams. That help us make the difference.

Also, in a given time, we can decide what company work for based on the values and leadership the company is really committed to.

Norman Kao
I agree with Judy's points and I have exercised the same when I worked with my team members.

It always started with an attitude of truly care about your team members. A simple question like, "How was your weekend?" or "How is your new car?" shows how much you care about the person through your voice, tone, and gesture.

Then, you should show your sympathy with your team members by understanding their problems and do your best to help them.

And if you are leading a multi-culture project team, you should be aware of culture differences and show your care properly.

Avril Gan
Treating your team members well is important for team building and for morale. Being away from home, difficult clients, tough datelines, complex deliverables — having to deal with all of these is terribly stressful.

I always make it a point to celebrate project milestones and to include spouses and family members (if they are visiting onsite), even if it is only for a meal.

Dan Suratos
Employer-employee relationship with a "personal human touch" really results in more productivity.

The casual "off work talk" approach, motivates an employee, increases self confidence, and improves his/her efficiency.

An employee who is valued as an important part of the team reciprocates by providing more efforts for the team's growth and success.

Sunitha S P
I completely agree and this human touch / connect leaves a lasting impression. Most of the time this human aspect is taken care by conducting some meetings triggered due to "feedback" provided in 360 degree appraisal for managers instead truly knowing the people they manage. Manager's success will be his people success and caring for a person is important factor.

Heidi Baker
As always, your words ring true. There is no greater feeling than that which is evoked simply by acknowledging someone and letting them know you care. The return on that minimal investment is incomparable!

Lakshmi Gopal
The thoughts shared are very valid in today's environment when eveyone is going through a lot of stress. It shows you care.

This is a great post and I completely agree with taking a personal interest in those around us. My organization started weekly one-on-ones with our managers a few years ago. I appreciated the regular opportunity to talk with my boss. It improved the overall effectiveness of our communications.

I recently started listening to a Podcast at, and it has some excellent practical tips for implementing one-on-ones, even as a PM. I now have a direct report and have recently implemented one-on-ones as a result of what I learned in this podcast.

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