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Creating Care

July 30, 2019

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about one of the most effective ways to move individuals through change: crank up the care. In short, we talked about the importance of trust within an organization and how individuals who feel cared for are more willing to embrace or accept the challenges that come with seasons of transition.  

As I’ve reflected on this concept of care, I’ve realized that it would be helpful to explain in a tactical way how we create care. In other words, what can we tangibly do to ensure that others feel cared for.  

There are two crucial components of care: warmth and competence. True care cannot happen if you have one without the other.   

Oftentimes when we hear the word care, our minds immediately go to things that are warm and fuzzy like the examples from the previous blog—writing a note, sending a text, giving words of encouragement. These acts of kindness are crucial components of care. However, this warmth is only half of the equation.   

If you’re warm but incompetent, you don’t produce care; you create pity. People may like you, but they don’t trust that you have the ability to truly care for them. In fact, they may even feel sorry for you. Let’s use the chart below to help explain these concepts visually (adapted from

In order to care for the people you lead, you must do your job well. Competence produces confidence. This enables others to believe that you can do what you’ve said you’re going to do.  

On the other hand, competence without warmth leads to suspicion. Being good at your job is not enough. If I know you have the ability to accomplish the goal, but you don’t exude warmth, it’s unlikely I will trust your motives or be compelled to take the journey with you. I might have faith in your abilities, but I don’t believe you have my best interests in mind.  

This goes without saying, but if you are cold and incompetent, you’re a non-starter. You will lead no change because your actions will only bring about contempt.  

When you combine competence (the ability to do your job well) with warmth (others feeling valued by you), you create a culture of care. Meaningful care is a blend of this warmth and competence.  

So why is this conversation about care so important? When employees and customers feel cared for, you capture their hearts, and you create a loyal following.  

If Warmth + Competence = Care, what does this look like in your world?  

The food is delicious. The restaurant is clean. The order came out quickly. And the cashier’s kind demeanor made the customer feel welcome.  

The CEO grows her company, accurately predicts trends in the market, and consistently makes wise decisions. Additionally, she regularly checks in on her team, individually encourages them, and goes the extra mile to meet their needs.  

The new product is helpful and effective. It was delivered on time. And the customer is pleasantly surprised when they are contacted a week later to make sure they are satisfied with their purchase.  

The manager runs a tight ship and is quick on his feet. On top doing good work inside the office, he knows how to invest in the individual members of his team. They feel known and valued.  

True care is built with both warmth and competence. It might look a little different for everyone, but you’ll recognize it when you see it. 

And where care exists, customer and employees champion an organization as if it were their own.

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