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?”
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.