Care is what one person does for another. In the context of legitimate relationships of power at work, it is what managers do for those in their charge. To Care for someone essentially means to have their best interests at heart. It is about serving the needs of the other person before one’s own.
Good parents instinctively put the child’s interests first because they care unconditionally. Good managers similarly put their employees’ interests first.
For most managers, unlike parents however, this is not an instinctive choice. Rather, it is a deliberate choice that they make repeatedly over time. Care is something, in other words, which managers foster over the course of the reporting relationship they have with those in their charge.
Care moreover is definitely not a “soft and fluffy thing”. Care in the heart is evidenced in both “soft” and “hard” behaviours.
Caring parents feed and clothe their offspring. They give them their love and attention. They educate, guide and support them. They also establish boundaries, discipline them and encourage or even force them to stand on their own two feet.
Managers who Care similarly behave in ways that are both “soft” and “hard”. They do the following:
They also do the following:
In every interaction they have with their people, managers who Care act with their people’s highest and best interests in mind – which is to set them up to succeed and ultimately realise the best in themselves.