The Debate of Good Leadership Skills: How Caring should you be Toward Employees?

20140109-caring about employeesTreating junior employees as part of the family might work for some businesses; most success stories of such revolve around small businesses and restaurants. Some even say that such relationship indicates good leadership skills, however, just like any family, the familial relationship extended by employers can be abused.

Studies on Being a Caring Manager or Boss

A study featured in the Academy of Management Journal states that employees do not automatically become more loyal to a leader who cares more or provides emotional support to his subordinates. However, nobody feels indebted.  According to researchers from the University of London and the IMD, the problem lies with mismatched expectations.

Whenever a manager or a superior thinks he’s displaying good leadership skills by offering words of consolation or understanding, he is expecting an employee to get back on the job or do better. In addition, they also expect employees to work harder or stay longer with the business in return of their appreciation. Unfortunately, that’s not how most employees think.

The study shows that 75% of the respondents, composed of lower-level employees and middle managers, said that they get emotional support from their bosses, but the feeling of indebtedness is nowhere. Employees believe that the compassion that bosses show is part of their managers’ regular duties. On the other hand, bosses who do these things feel that their show of good leadership skills through compassion or kindness needs to be appreciated.

How about the Ubiquitous Yet Tabooed Lending Money?

Another study from the University of Colorado says that employers who give loans to workers who are having financial problems expect their employees to be loyal. Unlike those who becoming caring managers, those who lend out money actually receive loyalty. The study shows that employers who loan money actually retain employees better. And these loans do not even have to be contract-based – everything is done informally.

Such bosses are “matchers”, because they become generous since they expect something in return. Those employees who give their loyalty for the loans are also matchers.

How to Be a Kind and Caring Manager without Being Too Involved

Good leadership skills do not necessarily have to extend to lending financial support, but inevitably, it happens more than most leaders care to admit. There are many other ways to support employees without getting too involved in their lives- personally or financially.

If the debt isn’t repaid, the employee-employer relations will suffer. It can even escalate when one party lodges a complaint against the other.

Talking, coaching or counseling- whatever you want to call it- isn’t the only way you can support an emotionally drained employee. Other methods to show understanding and exhibit good leadership skills are:

  • Allow him to have a flexible time at work
  • Provide telecommuting or work-at-home setups
  • When it comes to loans, organize a compassionate fund for the whole company or the business where employees can borrow money, therefore, lessening the risk of giving out loans from personal funds.

A good manager won’t risk mixing his personal life with the professional lives of his employees. That’s the mark of true good leadership skills. such things can be good indications of good leadership skills. By supporting workers without getting too involved in their personal lives, a company can have a friendlier yet more professional work atmosphere.


© 2014 Incedo Group, LLC

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