Do you “Care”?

One of my friends showed me an SMS exchange she had with her manager:

Friend: “Hi, I am down with high fever and would not be able to make it to work today. Need to see the doctor and take some rest. Hope this is OK with you?”

Boss: “OK”

I just couldn’t help feeling bad about this insensitive response from a manager. As human beings, we have a innate need for being cared for – by our family, friends and, of couse, at work. We roughly spend 1/3rd of our time, five days a week, at work. That’s really significant. And, if the people at work don’t make you feel cared for, your morale / engagement (whatever you like to call it) is bound to be affected adversely. Most importantly, it is the ‘people manager’ who has to exemplify this behaviour. One needs to remember – it’s a “tit-for-tat” world out there. If managers don’t care for their people, it is futile to expect employees to care about their teams and more importantly, the company, thus adding to the problem of talent retention. People should not be merely looked at as “resources” or “machines”. 

So, my message to people managers is that “Please start treating your team members as humans and weave genuine care-orientation into your managerial style.” It’s not difficult. We do it with our families, let’s do it with the extended family now.

5 thoughts on “Do you “Care”?

  1. Abhishek I totally agree with your point on showing care and needless to say its importance. Adding to your point I believe that sowing care is a complex thing and mostly is suttle.
    Care like any other human emotion is FELT, and hence its important the other person if made to feel it, and that may be way way beyond the words used in communication.
    You SMS example while is appropriate on the facevalue, may not be true representation of the feeling of care that is shared in the manager subordinate relationship in this care. for all you may know its a style issue and not a feeling issue. While obvious signs are vital, these feelings go way beyond the obvious!


  2. Completely agree on your point about how difficult it is to imbibe a care orientation in organizations.
    Your point about “style” issues is also absolutely valid. However, follow-up conversations in this case didn’t seem to justify it in this particular case. And, don’t we have numerous other similar examples that spring from employee-talk?

    BTW – thanks for taking the time to go through the blog.


  3. Hi,
    I have some sympathy (no one likes others to be ill) but in this case I think the manager was entitled to a phone call not an SMS.
    Your friend made a statement really, there was no coversation, therefore he acknowldged the statement and directly answered it.
    Just a different way of looking at it.


  4. An SMS is also a conversation. Especially, the one in question here. It states an issue, an outcome and seeks conformity on it. And the situation perhaps deserves more than a simple “OK”.


  5. A conversation is an informal exchange of ideas, the person in question made a statement, they required the manager to create the conversation by responding by return SMS or phone.
    You say it your self they *stated* issue and outcome, he OK’d their *statement* as there was no room to have a conversation.
    Irrespective of this, I hope they are better 🙂


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