What do I mean by Caring?
Executives want to ‘win hearts and minds. Quite probably the most important part of this is simply to care. My 7th Change Capability, Caring, ensures that the emotional and physical wellbeing of employees is looked after during change, as individual needs are taken into account.
Caring is a mindset, and a set of behaviours. It must be an authentic, empathic appreciation of what the change will mean to employees. It isn’t about shying away from tough decisions but being able to stand up and demonstrate that you genuinely understand that your decision will be tough on some people, and it is about being fair.
How is this Change Capability manifested?
People that are involved in the implementation of change:
- Take time to understand how individuals (and specific groups) are impacted by change
- Demonstrate empathy in their interactions with those impacted
- Consider individuals not just as recipients of a message but as people
People that are impacted by the change:
- Believe that the organisation and its leaders care about them
- Feel that they are/will be fairly treated when the change is implemented
- Believe that every effort is made to look after their well-being
How is the capability supported?
As with all of the capability dimensions, this is not an exhaustive list but Involvement is supported by:
- Values: Leadership must be authentic, and genuinely value the well-being of employees
- HR Process: Effective HR Processes, rigorously applied by managers, should ensure that appropriate policies exist and are consistently applied in areas such as I&D and flexible working
- Communication: Leaders must be prepared to meet employees face to face to listen to their needs, and to be seen to act upon feedback from this and other sources (e.g. survey)
What happens if you overplay this strength?
Without balance, strengths can become weaknesses. Over-focusing on Caring can occur in two ways:
- Mollycoddling: Tough decisions are not made, and difficult conversations or conflict with employees are avoided at the cost of performance
- Indulging: Individual feelings trump any sense of identification with the needs of colleagues, teams, customers and the organisation as a whole and the only thing that matters is “me”
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