As humans, we can be incredibly compassionate toward others.
We can say and do things to make people know we’re thinking of them, to help them feel better, and to let them know we care.
But when it comes to how others perceive the support we’re offering, that’s a different story.
Consider this story about how a Juice client invested time and lots of money into a hockey game outing, to recognize employees for a job well done. Despite the manager’s intentions to show his appreciation, the support he was trying to communicate was not really felt by his individual team members.
Welcome to the “feelings economy,” where what’s felt counts. It’s not enough to declare support verbally: in today’s workplace, the only way to truly offer support is if your employees can feel it.
What matters most to each person?
“Drew” is a senior leader Juice worked with over several years, who had to learn to transform his support from declared to felt. His director “Celeste” was experiencing stress at home. Every time they met, Drew would suggest offloading some of her work. But the conversations felt unfulfilling and always devolved into an exercise in frustration.
Drew decided to take a different tack: he began asking her what mattered most to her. And what he discovered shocked him: Celeste didn’t want things taken off her plate...she wanted more challenges. She needed to feel productive at work, particularly because she didn’t feel so productive at home.
By stepping into Celeste’s world and partnering instead of parenting, Drew went from offering declared support to producing felt support. As a result, he released energy in three intelligent ways:
Using felt support to address engagement issues
The skill of stepping into your employees’ worlds and seeing through their eyes can also help you better respond to organizational engagement scores.
Generally speaking, organizations that respond to survey results without understanding the back-story behind the data tend to produce fixes that come across as declared rather than felt support.
If engagement survey data is not translated into conversations, attempts to fix problems will most often result in a lower response rate next time, and more eye rolls from cynical employees.
Conversation and understanding what matters most to your employees is an incredibly effective way to show your compassion and support for others. This is how we move Beyond Engagement.
Co-Founder of Juice Inc, Thought Leader & Author
Co-Founder of Juice Inc.
General Manager and Director of Sales
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