Care drives everything
I don’t know a single person who would put 100% of his abilities into a work if he’s there only for a paycheck.
But I do know plenty of people who really care about the job they do, and whenever needed they’ll make themselves better educated, learn new skills, adjust personality, and all these in private time just to be a better performer in a workplace.
In general people don’t care about work if they don’t have to and most of us prefer to do bare minimum which will just preserve us from getting fired. This attitude changes drastically when one starts to care and sees the bigger goal in his actions.
It’s not that we human beings don’t care by default (although it’s true for some). I worked with many young people who immensely cared at the beginning of their career, but being exposed to constant ignorance and abuse just stopped.
To me lack of care comes from burnout and is a defense mechanism created to avoid emotional pain. If you care a lot and you’re abused, ignored and not appreciated it hurts a lot. It’s easier to not care in the first place and avoid any emotional relation with the work we do.
The thing is that you can’t make max out employee’s performance if he doesn’t care and if he doesn’t bring feelings to a workplace. More than this – most of great people can’t live in a state of careless work so they’re leaving broken inhuman organisations.
The greatest people want to care
If they like you and you’re their buddy, they’ll care about quality of the work they deliver. They may be doing stuff for the higher mission your organisation has. It can be that just because you care about them, they care about you and your business.
There is a countless number of reasons to care, and as many ways to make someone care. It’s individual case and it’s hard to give generic solution, but you need to definitely need to know the value of care.
It’s your role as a leader to find a way to make your people care. You need to learn what makes your employee and team care.
It really doesn’t matter if it’s money, more responsibilities, different team, better work-life balance, etc. you need to figure it out on individual basis and make their wishes happen. All is fine, and don’t trap yourself in categorizing people basing on their life priorities.
Focus on those who want to care
Of course there are people who just don’t care and won’t ever care because work is just work and nothing beyond that. That’s fair and you shouldn’t be pushing hard on those with such attitude because everyone has different priorities in life. It’s hard to convince someone to change his beliefs but there is a way to do it naturally.
You should focus on those individuals who want to care and those who already care and it’ll spread across the company because those few can inspire ignorant masses.
You should ensure that those who already care are appreciated, because they are the only ones capable of spreading the good attitude and culture. If you don’t support them, you’ll lose because negativity is louder than positivity.
It’s important to remark though that it’s naive for a CEO to expect employees to care as much he does, so this needs to be sanely balanced. Unless they share equity 50/50, there is no reason for anyone to stress about the business as much.
Yes, it is possible to have an employee who immensely care like that, but demanding this from employees is silly.
Lack of EQ in organisation = great disappointment
It hurts that too many managers don’t see value in using EQ in day to day work.
Many of them are disappointed that the business doesn’t grow as quickly as they expected because of delayed schedules and that quality of the work done by employees isn’t that great.
Quality of the work is predicated upon employees’ engagement and often times team of 3 highly engaged employees can beat a group of 5 careless people. It’s not practical to make conclusions and expectations only out of numbers and this very often is the case: “we have X employees, we should have work done by Y”. It was the case in manufactory, but is not anymore in creative world.
Business owners, managers, leaders need to learn how to use EQ to inject and spread care among employees. It happens even in organisations that started out great, that culture gets lost along the way because of bad hires and forgetting about value of non-technical stuff like culture.
To make an employee care, you need to give them a reason to and you need to work on culture all the time. Corporate culture is a never-ending day to day game and it’s not a weekly checkbox for HR (“we bought fresh fruits this week so we’re good and they should be happy”).
Saying ‘here is your paycheck, you should care’ is not the best way to do it. Paycheck obligates employee to do the work he’s assigned to and bare minimum required by his supervisor.
If you create an emotional connection between employee and your business, you’ll see people producing high quality value you haven’t ever expected them to do, because now they feel obligated to do more for you.
Go and do that. Become such a leader for others like the one you always wished to have.