Ask The Experts

Ingraining care at the workplace

Question: I am a strong advocate of the principle ‘leave your personal problems at home when you are at work’.

My rationale is that it is impossible for any manager to tend to their people, as everyone has personal problems, including myself. It is impossible to solve them all, especially if they have nothing to do with work.

However, of late, I have been getting into lots of arguments over this topic with my peer managers, as to whether solving staff’s personal problems are part of a manager’s responsibility. What is your view on this?

Answer: If you are a caring manager, you will know that it is humanly impossible to separate the personal and professional lives of anyone, including your own. We bring our entire selves into all situations, whether others like it or not.

Ask yourself whether you are able to feel real good in the office when something not so positive has happened at home? Would you wish that there was someone close whom you can confide in, and perhaps get some support on what you are going through? Or would you rather have indifferent colleagues and bosses around you when you are in need for some kind of help?

Paying attention to the personal interests of your people goes a long way to show you are a caring manager, and a caring person. It speaks miles about your character and values.

Small conversation where you inquire about an employee’s family before you get into the business of work would motivate the person so much further. Indeed, it gives the person a warm feeling to know that he/she is cared about.

It is the best boost you can give to anyone, and it is certainly more powerful and longer term than a pay raise!

What more, you would elevate your personal powers when you do this. Getting things done and walking the extra mile for you are usually the outcomes a kind and caring person will get from others.

Powerful Questions:

• Is caring for others one of your values?

• Do you feel good when you turn away from helping someone?

• When you need help yourself, what do you want a close person to do for you?

• What will living out this value do for you to live a more fulfilling life?

Article by Dr Michael Heah, an ICF Master Certified Coach with


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