GIVE A CRAP – People want to belong!
“Ah, crap!” I exclaimed almost audibly. I was sitting on the stage at church, it was two minutes before starting time, and a 23-year-old college student named Ashley just texted me.
“Dear Bishop Hunt, I’m not coming to church any more. I feel like I’m a project. I’ve not really connected with anyone for the two months that I’ve been going. Sorry. Please don’t contact me again.”
My heart was broken. I was crushed. I hate messages like this but what I hate even more is the fact that she thought that I and others didn’t care. I did. We did. Tremendously.
We’d spend a lot of time talking about her and a handful of others who were struggling with their faith as they left their homes and embarked on the college journey. Our hearts really did reach out to them. We prayed for them frequently. Yet, Ashley didn’t feel the love.
Have you ever really cared for someone and they didn’t feel it either? Do the people that you lead know that you care? How?
What Ashley was really saying is that she lacked one of the innermost desires of all human beings: the need to belong. Many leaders might think that a competitive wage, clarity on job responsibilities, and safety are the main things that keep an employee loyal to a company.
You also might thing that there is no place for feelings at your company. That you’re a bunch of hardened construction workers, that men don’t share feelings, or that feelings are only for therapists. If these are your thoughts, I hate to inform you, but you’re wrong. People are emotional beings before they are logical beings. They make decisions based upon emotion and then reinforce these decisions with their logic. The truth of the matter is 79% of the people who leave their jobs do so not because of money, but because they don’t feel appreciated … they don’t belong¹.
How can we help our people belong?
Contrary to what you might be thinking, people crave to know how you feel about them. They want to know that they belong, that you care for them, and that they matter to the whole of the organisation. They want to know that you give a CRAP.
This is not easy to do. Giving a CRAP takes work. It doesn’t come naturally. It rarely shows up on our to do lists. It doesn’t directly contribute anything to the bottom line. But its what people want more than anything else from their leader. They want to know that you care and one of the best ways to show that you care is to give a CRAP.
CRAP is a “sticky” acronym that stands for:
When is the last time you’ve complimented someone? Have you celebrated anyone’s achievements publicly lately? Have you sent a note of appreciation to a team member, thanking them for their hard work?
Unfortunately, according to a study 200,000-person study, most of us probably haven’t². 65% of all employees report that they’ve received zero appreciation in the last 12 months from their boss. 65%! I don’t know about you, but that number is way too high for me. We’ve got to do something different. We need to start Celebrating, Recognising, Appreciating and Praising more. We need to give a CRAP.
Schedule your CRAP
One easy way to start doing this is to schedule it. In a previous role, I was a public-school principal who was struggling to find time to give a CRAP until I started attending a weekly AA meeting. No, the difficulties of leadership did not successfully drive me to a place where I actually need an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. What I mean by a weekly AA meeting is a weekly Appreciation Appointment.
An AA meeting is a time block of at least one hour that you schedule weekly into your calendar to give a CRAP to your employees. When done right, it becomes a sacred meeting. This means that you don’t move it for anything – not even for your boss. It stays in one place, every single week.
During an AA meeting, your primary goal is to stay laser-focused on activities that show people you care. Turn off your email, put a sign on your door, close down all your applications. Tell people you are on important business and can’t be distracted. Get in your car and go buy a bunch of gift cards. Get out your company stationary and start writing thank you notes. Head to the floor with the sole intention to tell Joe you appreciate his work. Pick up the phone and congratulate Jenny with her new baby.
Of course, you should be doing these sorts of things all of the time. During company meetings, while walking the floor, in one on ones, and even in the parking lot as both you and several employees are leaving late. You don’t need an appointment to give you permission to give a CRAP. Scheduling an AA is simply an added safety measure to make sure this aspect of your Maverick leadership gets done … just in case you forget to do it in all the other times.
As you get better and more intentional in this work, you’ll start to see some great things with your employees. They will follow with less hesitation, they will stay longer and work harder for you, they’ll rise to your expectations and they’ll even reciprocate the behaviour and start to show you more care.
Its time to give a CRAP! Here’s handy reminder – 50 ways to give a crap, click here.
¹OC Tanner Learning Group. (2019). Performance: Accelerated [White paper]. https://www.octanner.com/content/dam/oc-tanner/documents/global-research/White_Paper_Performance_Accelerated.pdf
² OC Tanner Learning Group. (2019). Performance: Accelerated [White paper]. https://www.octanner.com/content/dam/oc-tanner/documents/global-research/White_Paper_Performance_Accelerated.pdf
Suggested Tags: Leadership, Praise, Appreciation, Belonging, Intentional, ROI