Caring is great in the workplace. Having a boss who truly takes an interest in you as a person is a luxury that should be treasured and appreciated. Honestly, even one that isn’t indifferent to you is a vast improvement. But what to do as a leader if you are not the caring kind? It can’t be faked… can it?
No, it can’t be faked. But you don’t have to care to care. You just have to learn to care. And if you can’t care from your heart, care from your head. If you can’t see your employees as people, see them at least as assets. Because your concern for them will increase the value of your investment, so just care about the investment.
Do you need to know their children’s name, family history, where they grew up, and what they did this weekend? No. It’s nice if you do, but that’s not why you are there, and sometimes it can actually be a little too much on the receiving end. What you need to be is not indifferent. You need to observe how they look, how they respond. You need to assume they are intelligent enough to have earned a full explanation. You need to step in if they are close to burning out and help them get better fast. You need to be reliable in the “stick to your word”-sort of way where a deal is a deal. You need to see them, know their strengths and challenges, and match their capabilities to their jobs. You need to find the potential that they did not even know they had.
If you do this because you are a kind and caring person, then that’s fantastic. The rest of us must still do this to fulfill our job as managers; to maximize performance and optimize the investment we made in each individual we employ.