Supporting Your Employees

In our book, the People Side of Business, Lee Hersch and I outline the key need to support your employees.  Support provides the critical foundation for people to function well in the work environment.  Let me summarize the three principles I have covered and add the fourth.

First, since peoples’ brains work from the bottom up, we understand that our employees are not just rational beings.  They have a need for safety in the work environment and they are emotionally vulnerable.  Leaders and managers who forget this obvious fact expect rational problem-solving and get frustrated with the other baggage people bring to work.  Great leaders accept the sometimes sloppy nature of how people operate.  They embrace people and work with what they have.

Second, I discussed how people need nurturance from their managers and organization.  Caring is not just a nice thing to do, it is a requirement for emotional safety and security.  People have a dreadful fear of rejection and abandonment.  They need to feel wanted and integral to the mission of the organization.  Their passion can be an asset to the company if they are emotionally linked to its goals and values.

Third, people are naturally wired to function well in a family-like environment.  They will see their supervisors as parent figures and respond accordingly. They will also operate naturally in a team context, which replicates the sense of family they bring and paste onto the organization.  The wise manager will support and build healthy teams where individuals can both feel comfortable and be highly productive.

There is a fourth principle that rounds out the support component of taking care of people in business.  People want to learn and grow in order to achieve mastery.  People want to learn their jobs and perform them well.  This drive, to learn new things and figure them out, is an essential component to humans surviving in a complex world. 

Supporting employees requires implementing all four of these principles.   More about this fourth principle in the coming posts.

Tom DeMaio, PhD

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