So Do Your Really Care About Your Team?

How likely is it that your team would say ‘Yes’ in response to the following statement?

My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person’

If they do say ‘Yes’, would you be one of the people they think of as demonstrating ‘caring towards others’?

Gallup has found that people who answer ‘Yes’:

  • Are more likely to stay with the organisation
  • Have more engaged customers
  • Are more productive*

So, caring about your employees/co-workers seems to be a good idea. But, so often this comes across as fake and, in my opinion, fake interest is worse than no interest at all.

In order for this to feel authentic to both you and others, it needs to connect to a deeply held value. So, my question for you is: Who do you want to be at work? How do you want others to see you? If ‘caring’ is a value you want to enact at work then not only will you feel authentic and vital but you might just be adding to the bottom line too!

* Taken from Vital Friends – Tom Rath

2 thoughts on “So Do Your Really Care About Your Team?

  1. Hi Rachel,
    I think this article is a good starting point on at least two fronts: the first is the theme of caring, as well as experienced in the workplace and especially as connected to the leadership.

    The second is more general: in the ACT we have to do with the values that guide our behavior in life. Now, these values are the same that we find in the workplace? Or are there others?

    Omitting the second subject (but I would go again shortly, with a concrete proposal) I focus on first.

    As we know the way we live in an attitude of caring depends largely on attachment styles. There are several scientific studies that prove this correlation, but even more interesting are the studies that investigate the correlation between attachment styles and leadership.

    In a first interesting research by Berson, Dan e. al (The Journal of Social Psychology, 2006, 146(2), 165–182) the authors examined whether individuals’ approaches to relationships, expressed in terms of attachment styles, was related to how they viewed ideal leadership and to their degree of tendency to emerge as team leaders.

    Specifically, the authors hypothesized that attachment styles, or cognitive representations of orientation to others, would explain individual differences in leadership perceptions and emergence.

    The authors found that securely attached individuals perceived themselves as more effective team members than did insecurely attached individuals and that fellow team members saw securely attached team members as emerging team leaders significantly more often than they did insecurely attached team members.

    There is a second study that can be interesting: Boatwright, Lopez et. al (The Psychologist-Manager Journal, 13: 1–14, 2010)

    In that study, researchers used attachment theory to explore
    the contributions of adult attachment styles on workers’ preferences for relational
    leadership behaviors. Findings revealed that workers with preoccupied adult attachment styles expressed stronger preferences for relational leadership behaviors than workers with either dismissive adult attachment styles or fearful attachment styles.

    In other words, to answer the questions “Who do you want to be at work?” “How do you want others to see you?” And if the caring is genuine or not I would say that “it depends”; certainly depends on the style of attachment and certainly from our values of life and work.

    I hope this contribution probably goes beyond the strict sense of the ACT model will be useful starting point for future considerations.

    1. Rob,
      What an interesting point. I had heard people mention this research but had never been given the reference – so thank you for that! It makes sense to me. I know that I would prefer to be led by someone with a secure attachment style!
      I think that what ACT offers here is an approach that can help people break out of the patterns laid down by their learning history and genuinely change their behaviour. My experience in my executive coaching work is that this means that ACT can have a really meaningful impact on leadership behaviours.

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