Leading by Caring: an Undercover Boss Revelation

I recently watched an episode of Undercover Boss, Epic Bosses. This particular episode looked back at some of the former participants to see how their lives continue to be impacted since appearing on the show. I noticed a common theme in the lives of these bosses. Each of these bosses identified how he/she realized the need to spend time with their employees. The greatest insight for them and change in their life and leadership was to reinvest in the greatest company resource – its employees.

This is a very valuable lesson for all leaders to capture. Unfortunately, in our society today, greed has replaced value in corporate America. Not only greed, but it has steered leadership into lower standards of operation. Yet, those leaders who recognize their people as the greatest resource of the organization, will likely have not only quality production, but also, higher morale.

One general rule of human nature is to know that someone cares about me. When people realize you care, they pay more attention and respect to you. Therefore, their performance will be of greater interest toward the organization’s interests. I often share with churches and church leaders, “You’ve got to show them that you care.” If you expect people to be their best for you and your organization, show them that you care – for them.

There are varying ways to show you care and caution is to used in how you choose to show you care. One way certainly is through gifts; financial rewards as raises, bonuses, special dinners, etc. But as we’ve shared in an earlier post, throwing money at employees is not a cure all. Any morale boost from financial reward is most often short lived. While these are good and should be practiced as can be afforded, it is not the best way to show you care.

Continued safety improvement and care for employees (volunteers) is a good way to show you care. Safety includes providing proper equipment and proper rest periods for employees. Some companies in Silicone Valley provide on-site childcare, free cafeterias, and game rooms for employees. Some of these can be good, some perhaps habit forming expectations. The point is they are relating to the morale of their employees. (There are valid reasons behind the game rooms for some of these particular companies)

On the Undercover Boss episode, some of these bosses continue to return to the trenches, traveling to spend the day with some of their ground forces. This has been known for years as “walk around management.” They are not doing this to manage. These bosses realized the need to walk with and amongst the ground forces of their business. They interact and find out about the employee’s job and personal lives. This perhaps is the number one morale builder any leader can undertake. Show them that you care. Your organization will flourish and, You’ll be glad you did.

George Yates is a Life Purpose Coach and Organizational Health Strategist, assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose.