“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
~ President “Teddy” Roosevelt
Part 2 of Team Building 101 ended with “To lead is to serve, and to serve is to care.” The critical action here is care. Whether you’re starting a project or business, growing sales, building things or raising children, how much you care is the difference between awful to average to Awesome (with a capital “A”!). Care, and how you care, separate you from others who talk a good game but aren’t willing to walk the walk.
Care puts you out there; it exposes you for all the world to see. Care will make you uncomfortable, it will challenge conventional wisdom of “why should I care about them, they don’t care about me”. Care also means you have to take the first step – that can be scary when you don’t know the outcome.
That’s what it’s all about as a leader…
…taking the first step, showing you care more than most, proving to others that even though they might not care about you, you still care about them.
It can be thankless, humbling, and humiliating, but caring for others is the only path to building Unstoppable Teams. The kind of care I’m referring to is 24/7/365. It’s a mindset – you don’t shut if off when you walk out of the office. It’s proactively thinking about how you can care for your entire team of 4Cs (Customers/Co-workers/Contributors and Community). Many people you will interact with won’t believe your sincerity and your level of care at first. They might even laugh out loud at you! (Happens to me – present tense – all the time). Just smile, because you know you’ll prove them wrong with one caring action after another.
There are two common obstacles here:
- Not realizing how important Care is
- Understanding how to show others how much you care.
With the benefit of years of trying, failing, and succeeding, I’ve put together a framework that can help you show others how much you care. I call this framework: C.A.R.E.-Based Team Building, and the actions involved will help you build and lead Unstoppable Teams.
When I say the term “CARE-Based”, I’m referring to creating an environment where your teammates feel free to give truly honest feedback without concern of retribution; where your teammates are encouraged to take risks, to explore “off the beaten path” ideas. These feelings come only from an environment where people feel protected when they expose themselves to their teammates. As a leader, you are after true expressions of the best of what people have to offer – and that doesn’t come easily.
Creating a CARE – Based Environment
You must create an environment that helps your team to take risks both internally and externally. Internally, the first risks they take are the ones expressing how they truly feel about an idea, project, or process; something that could be paramount to your team succeeding. If people aren’t willing to take the internal risks of expression first, then their ability to take external risks such as pursuing a new idea or growing sales will not reach he full potential that it could. CARE – Based teams encourage both internal and external risk taking, and that’s because you as the team leader (i.e. CARE giver) have created an environment where people contribute to their utmost potential because they know they are cared for.
Some people shy away from the word CARE. You may think CARE comes in only one form, such as a mother caring for her baby. There is an element of protection here, but not in the way you may think. The CARE I’m referring to isn’t protecting your teammates from anything that can do them harm (unless it’s jealous, lazy, conniving co-workers from other divisions who want what your team has). Quite the contrary. I’m talking about caring enough to make sure your team does their best, for their own sake – like the SEAL Team instructor who cares enough to put potential candidates through the most realistic combat stress possible so they’re better prepared for battle. The team leader of the “Rough Riders” (President Teddy Roosevelt) had it right almost a 100 years ago, the first step is always proving “how much you care.”
The next blogs will be focused on breaking down each of the four fundamental pillars of CARE. Prepare to learn how to CARE!
To learn more about setting and achieving goals, check out my book Be Unstoppable: The 8 Essential Actions to Succeed at Anything