4 Tips to Cultivate Total Caring Leadership

As a leadership consultant and change management professional, I have the realization that the line between the professional and personal lives of team members in a workplace environment is very blurred. This blurredness has been a subject of many leadership concerns and challenges. Leaders today have still not found a better solution of balancing the professional and personal lives of their lives and leadership let alone that of their team members. Today we still have leaders who show up in the office and their team members have to check and understand how they have shown up today. To check if the leader is in good moods to engage or otherwise.

The reality is that if our family life is tense that will affect how we show up in office regardless of our positions. If our personal lives are a mess, it will affect how we show up and more so how we interact in our professional space. The vice versa is also true, if our work or professional space is intense and things not working out, definitely it will affect how we show up at home and also how our personal lives will be occupied. This is what Friedman alluded to as Total Leadership and added a community dimension as a critical factor that forms how people and more so leaders show up as a whole.

However, the awareness of how you show up as a whole and how your team members show up as a whole may not necessarily make you an effective leader. Without consideration of care, leaders’ appreciation of total wholeness may not make team members more productive. This, therefore, means a combination of both total appreciation of team members and caring for them would be a powerful approach for effective leadership that may translate to improved productivity of both the leader and their team members. Here are 4 tips organization leaders can employ to be effective and caring leaders which will have a profound impact not only on their productivity but also their team productivity. I call this the 4 Bs of total caring leadership.

Be Mindful

Mindfulness is generally a practice that helps in improving the emotional and physical well-being of people. We are all living in a busy world. More specifically as leaders, our days are full of activities and decisions we have to make every day, every minute, we have a responsibility that cuts across our various spheres of life – personal, family, community besides our work or professional space. Many times as leaders in the rush to accomplish various activities and tasks, we may find ourselves not in touch with the current realities in our various spaces. Missing out on critical areas that we should be undertaking in any of the four domains alluded by Friedman – Self – Family – Work – Community. As a result, we tend to push the same burden either consciously or unconsciously to our team members as we push them to operate like ourselves. Being mindful entails leaders being consciously aware of how they show up, practicing some self-love, and extending the same kindness to their team members.

To improve team productivity, the leader must be kind to their team members and other colleagues in all organizational engagements. Practicing kindly helps in developing the leader’s values at the same time creates some vulnerability trust in the team that has a ripple effect on the leader’s influence on the team members. Team members will slowly move to a level where their productivity is consistently higher since they do not wish to let you down as their leader and they drive consistency in performance due to the respect they have for your kindness and trust as their leader. Above all, be consciously aware of whatever arises in your total domains each moment for both yourself and your team members; practice forgiveness of self and others and propagate and model a learning mindset instead of losing mindset. The practice of mindfulness for leaders which is also a critical value of the Watson Caring Model integrates the 4 domains in the Friedman model to enable the leader to always lead with mindfulness and compassion. So to be effective and trigger the high productivity of your team, cultivate mindfulness in your leadership daily.

Be Intentional

Intentionality involves sustained focus and an approach toward a common goal. To be intentional entails having faith and hope in yourself first as a leader and instilling the faith and hope in your team members. It entails staying positive and sustaining hope amidst any situation in your organization. It entails being a courageous but vulnerable leader, making decisions with your team members at heart. Being intentional means raising your capacity as a leader through intentionally learning and at the same time developing the capacity of your team members. Being intentional as a leader entails being respectful of your team members and leading with the understanding of the wholeness each team member brings to the table based on Friedman’s domains.

To be intentional you need to demonstrate objective judgment as a leader; you need to cultivate, have clarity and communicate your organization’s vision with determination. Team members will do what they see you doing as the leader and not necessarily what you ask them to do, so model clarity in your intentionality. Leaders who are not intentional can create an environment where team members lose the momentum of the vision and mission for the organization and eventually become discouraged which may result in inefficiencies and poor management of time, and resources in the organization. Promote an environment where your team members can express both negative and positive feelings without judgment or victimization. Be intentional in generating hope and faith in your team and your team members will reciprocate through their improved productivity.   

Be Authentic

Being authentic as a leader entails presenting yourself as genuine in all 4 domains of the Friedman model. Being authentic as a leader starts with demonstrating a sense of purpose. Having a sense of purpose entails having clarity in the shared goals for the organization and passionately challenging team members’ focus and drive towards the shared goals. This comes with the responsibility of caring about the work your team is undertaking. This sense of care is built through an intentional focus on nurturing others to care about their work and their colleagues.

When you demonstrate authentic care to your team as a leader in what they do and how they present themselves as a whole, you connect with them and they, in turn, will demonstrate the same caring focus for you and their work too. Authenticity builds relationships with team members while credibility sustains the relationships. By being authentic, a leader fosters an environment where team members become open to sharing things. This fosters the leader’s total leadership balance across Friedman’s domains. This also entails the leader providing an environment of caring-helping-trusting for self and others based on Watson’s values of caring leadership model. Being authentic is about showing compassion and sensitivity to the team members’ needs willingness to help them get what they need. Establish that caring presence, be authentic.

Be Inspirational

To be an inspiring leader means leading from a deep sense of purpose and responsibility with a view of creating positive change. To be inspirational means having clarity of shared values and championing the team to drive focus towards achievement of the shared values. Being inspiring entails having a personal balance of Friedman’s domains and modeling the same to team members. It entails fostering Watson’s caring leadership value of innovating with insight, reflection, and wisdom. When you are inspirational it means you can drive people to reach great heights of their performance and success. It means to model qualities like passion, purpose and helping team members find meaning in their roles.

When you are an inspiring leader, your team members will not only have a higher level of engagement, but they will have higher productivity as well. Simon Sinek in one of his books alludes that, inspiring leaders give people a sense of purpose or belonging that has little to do with any external incentive or benefit to be gained. Inspiring leaders create a following of team members who drive improved consistent performance because they are inspired. Being inspirational enables your team members to have not only the ability but a dedicated will to champion higher performance in the organization.

Conclusion

The role of a leader is to challenge their team members to maximize their potential in delivering shared goals. John Maxwell shared that everything rises and falls on leadership. With the understanding of total caring leadership, leaders can integrate both total leadership values and domains with caring leadership values and be Mindful, be Intentional, be Authentic and be Inspirational in their everyday leadership journey and experience. By actively engaging in total caring through mindfulness, intentionality, authenticity, and inspiration, leaders can optimize their teams’ ability to have higher engagement and productivity.

Practice this 4 Bs to live the Total Caring leadership values in your organization.

About the Author

Gilbert Ang’ana is a Strategic and Innovative Executive who translates business vision into initiatives that improve performance, profitability, growth, and leadership engagement & productivity. Empowering leaders with unique perspectives and appreciation that their teams are their greatest asset. An authentic influencer who thrives on team collaborations, tough challenges, and translating vision and strategy into actionable, value-added objectives. The CEO/Founder at Accent Leadership Group, a leadership and change management consultancy with a focus on creating a movement of leaders whose power of influence will far exceed the authority of their position. He also was recognized as one of The Top 40 Global Change Management Gurus – 2022 by leadersHum for his immense contribution and practice. He can be reached through info@stepafrique.com

Published by Coach Gilbert

I am Gilbert Ang'ana (Coach), the CEO/Founder of Accent Leadership Group. I am a Leadership Coach, Scholar and Practitioner with extensive experience in Corporate Leadership (15+ years). I am also an Award-winning Global Change Management Expert. I have worked with over 2000 leaders worldwide on various change management initiatives through Coaching, Training/Teaching, Speaking and Research. My purpose and that of my organisation are to Advance Leadership Advocacy in Africa and Beyond Through Coaching, Teaching & Research to Build a movement of Leaders whose Power of Influence will far Exceed the authority of their Position. Want to be part of this movement? Join our various programs at www.stepafrique.com

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