As the leader of the organization, you are responsible for bringing the board’s vision to life by developing plans and practices, implementing operations, and evaluating progress. A wise leader realizes that you are successful in these areas, when the team members are successful. As the leader and decision maker, what must you do to care for your team members so the organization is successful?
You must show that you care about the team members as individuals and not just team members. It is often said that, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Put their well-being above the goals to be accomplished. Genuinely ask people how they are doing. Provide the team with resources. Show flexibility without violating a policy, procedure, regulation or law that will alleviate stress. One example is having a four-day work week. This allows people to take care of personal matters on a specific day off for them instead of using paid time off or worrying about having coverage. You cannot provide everyone with a raise, yet you can periodically give team members a Visa/Gas card, breakfast, lunch, or a small bonus. Check with your CFO to ascertain what “gifts” are taxable for the team members.
Establish a stable culture rooted in value statements, guiding principles, trust, respect and caring. If the culture is permeated 360 degrees within the organization, the team members will exhibit the culture when engaging with vendors and customers. If your organization does not have these in place, engage in communication with a small cross-departmental team and develop them. If you have these statements in place, display them throughout the organization and have a new employee sign agreement that they have read, understood and will adhere to the content.
Last in the blog, yet definitely first in implementation, you must have a servant leader mentality and become partaker of the first fruit. You must lead and show care to the team. Too often leaders believe that the “higher” you are on the leadership ladder the more others should serve you. It is the opposite. The “higher” you are on the leadership ladder the more you should serve your team. There should never be a task you are unwilling to engage, given you have the time and talent to complete the task. If it is okay for you to work from home, it should be okay for your team members as long as the work is being completed. A couple of weeks ago, I knew that a team member was hosting a weekend event outside of the organization, yet she was transporting some of our program participants to the event. She was still “on the clock” that weekend. I told her to go home early on Friday so she could prepare, physically, mentally, and emotionally for an event that was also benefiting our program participants. I locked up the office on that day.
I have mentioned in previous blogs that I am the oldest of three pastor kids. My mother still says, “A person would rather see a sermon than hear a sermon.” We cannot just talk about providing care to the team. We must do it, so they can see the care and not just hear about the care.