Keep Investing in Your Employees’ Inner Mind
By KyoungHee Choi
Most leaders want to train their employees to become better and more productive at work. Yet, most training programs offered to team members are quite limited and primarily focused on work performance (i.e. sales, leadership, marketing or customer service). There is no doubt that these skills are critical to businesses and team members. But as leaders try to bring teams on the same page and dealing with remote team members with fewer opportunities to connect as a team, it’s time to also consider focusing on the inner mind of employees.
What is it and how can I invest in my team’s inner mind?
Do you know what is happening in their personal life? Do you know who is important to them in their personal life?
Do you know what they like or don’t like? Do you know what they are passionate about? Do you try to understand what are their challenges and wishes?
While I was working as an art therapist, I met a lot of very lonely employees who did not feel emotionally cared for by their organizations. They were trying to work hard but nobody at work seemed to see or understand their contribution. Part of the problem is our social circle which creates very few social contacts as we mostly communicate through text and social media rather than in person or on calls, even with close family members. The reduced human connection and communication can cause a lot of psychological strains. Also, our happiness in our personal life can impact our work performance.
In Western cultures, we tend to avoid conversations involving our personal lives. In Eastern cultures, on the other hand, we tend to communicate much more about our personal lives, often with too much curiosity. Neither is necessarily good or bad – there are benefits to both approaches.
What is important though is to seek to understand your team. To communicate with them how they truly feel? A basic need of humans is to be cared for by others and communicate openly. At Propulo, we often refer to this as Actively Care which is one of the most critical leadership competencies to drive performance in a business and to drive safe outcomes.
Does your organization communicate enough? Is the communication open and transparent to all parties?
Employees who feel cared for by their organization will do anything for you and deliver what we call discretionary effort – the free effort that exceeds what one is paid for in wages.
A true leader cares about their employees and can easily earn their loyalty and trust. It starts with attention to details. Small habits. Conversations.