This week I will watch my youngest child get her college diploma.
While I am thrilled with this milestone, I also have a stone in the pit of my stomach that won’t go away. I can remember her first day of school when she put on her tiny little backpack and went into that first grade classrom filled with fear and determination. On that day I thought my heart would break. I was afraid that someone might be mean to her, or she’d get lost, or she would be homesick.
Now she’s on her way, and I’m afraid of all the same things. Except now, I feel homesick.
If I were working in an office this week, I would want a leader that might ask about my daughter. Someone who would understand if I seem slightly distracted in meetings.
I would want a leader who cared, if only for a moment, about my heart.
I am not advocating an environment where the emotionally needy constantly talk about their problems. But I think whoever introduced the concept of “don’t ever bring your feelings to work” was an idiot. Unless you really do have zombies working for you, emotions are a big part of the deal.
We are personally driven by emotion, and we can be driven away by emotion.
Following is the first tip I shared in last week’s blog:
Tip #1: If leaders want to infuse heart into their dying team, they need to communicate daily. And this goes beyond saying “hello” to someone as they walk to the restroom. I’ve truly had leaders who counted this interaction as part of their team communication.
Here is this week’s tip for avoiding “dead people” at work:
Tip #2: To prevent a workforce of zombies, leaders must understand that emotions are not something to be avoided. Instead, their very existence, if channeled correctly, can create a dynamic team that cares about their work because their work cares about them.
If someone has a child graduating, or a sick spouse, or an illness themselves – send them a note. Pat them on the back. Ask them how they are.
Whether you want to admit it or not, emotions matter because people matter.