What does it truly mean to "Take Care of Your People"?

What does it truly mean to "Take Care of Your People"?

This question has been on my mind a lot lately. When we hear this phrase, our minds often jump to the idea of looking after employees, a notion I first encountered a couple of decades ago. But who exactly are "your people"? Well, that's up to you to define. For me, it encompasses everyone in our lives: coworkers (including people leaders), family, friends, neighbours, even acquaintances. It's about caring for all of them, big and small, in various ways.

Reflecting on my time in the military, I recall how "taking care of your people" meant meeting their basic needs: food, shelter, clothing, medical care—the essentials. This perspective aligns with Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which emphasizes fulfilling basic requirements before addressing higher-level needs like self-actualization. While achieving self-actualization is ultimately up to the individual, we can support others on their journey up the hierarchy by recognizing their need to be seen, heard, valued, and included.

A powerful example of this mindset comes from the education system in Finland, as highlighted in Adam Grant's book, "Hidden Potential." Finnish educators focus not on singling out the best or worst performers but on nurturing the potential within each individual. Research supports this approach, showing that when teachers, parents, and others believe in a person's untapped potential, even those who struggle academically can thrive.


So, how can we put this into practice? It starts with a shift in perspective. When we let go of negative judgments and biases, our interactions with others change. This might seem daunting, especially when we're entrenched in old habits, but it's essential for fostering a culture of care and growth.

Taking care of ourselves is also crucial, if not the catalyst in this process. Prioritizing our physical and emotional well-being enables us to embody this new perspective and support others more effectively.

In essence, "taking care of your people" goes beyond mere gestures—it's about embracing a mindset of possibility and empowerment, both for ourselves and those around us. 

Here are 5 Simple Ways to Care for People in Your Life:

1) Smile and Eye Contact: A genuine smile accompanied by eye contact can convey that you truly see and acknowledge people.

2) Use Names: Whether at work or at home, addressing people by their names adds a personal touch to interactions. "Good morning, Jonathan" or "Thanks for taking out the trash, Sweetie" are examples.

3) Provide Comfort: Make an effort to ensure people feel comfortable and welcomed. Offer solutions like a better chair or suggest taking a break for a snack to continue discussions.

4) Foster Connection: Take the time to connect with others on various topics, big or small. Ask open-ended questions like, "Tell me more about..." to show genuine interest in their experiences, whether it's their day, their family, their interests, or their challenges. Remember, it's about listening, not problem-solving.

5) Recognize Individuality: Acknowledge that everyone is a unique combination of their experiences and adaptations. Even if we may not always agree or understand, recognizing someone's perspective is a crucial step in allowing them to be their authentic selves.

Glad you were here.

Sherry Lachine. Xo


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