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Caring or Comparing Culture

Last month , I offered some suggestions about what to do and what not to do when there is a death at your workplace. There was a tremendous response to those simple and practical ideas.

To refresh your memory, the August 31 Leadership and Life message boiled down this: to equip employees to help those who have experienced a tragic loss, ask those employees three questions and suggest that they take a step as follows:

  1. Have you ever experienced a tragic loss in your life
  2. What did people who tried to support you do that was helpful?
  3. What did people do that was not helpful?

Step – do what was helpful for you and don’t do what was not helpful.

I believe that my readers reaction to this advice was significant because those ideas and questions were based on the core value of caring and listening instead of telling and fixing people. This caring behavior creates a culture of compassion rather than a culture of comparison. The compassion version is the environment that people want and is where most are truly motivated to do their best.

Let’s lean on this concept a bit more and consider its possible application to work and life in general. So may I ask, in your past, when you had a made a big mistake or had a project that failed, which can often lead to a loss of confidence or defensive reaction, how did your manager respond? Was it a tell-and-fix you approach or listen-and-coach approach?

When someone on your team makes a mistake, what is your typical response? Most of us mirror the way we are managed in the past. Good or not so good, it is natural to emulate our past models. But you can change your response if you decide to.

So the next time you are faced with addressing an employee who missed the mark, before you speak, stop and think about your past experiences and ask yourself:

  1. What was helpful about the way my manager handled me in a similar situation?
  2. What was not helpful?

Step – try the helpful stuff, if you care to.

Journal Entry:
In your role as manager, friend, spouse or parent, when any person in your life, large or small, makes a big mistake or disappoints you, stop. Before you say anything, remember your action sends a message, which creates a culture. Will it be one of caring or comparing? Decide on caring. If you do, I am certain you will to see people become motivated to a higher level of confidence and performance in their leadership and life.

Corporate culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything – for better or for worse. – Simon Sinek – author of Start with Why

Culture eats strategy for breakfast. – Peter Drucker, management consultant

Culture drives great results. – Jack Welch, bussines leader

Never be so busy as not to think of others. – Mother Teresa, leader in world-wide peace

Comparison is the thief of joy. – Theodore Roosevelt, past U. S. president

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
– 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV- The Bible)

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