Amidst a firestorm, a friend and colleague of mine by the name of Erik Sover said to me, “You can’t teach give a shi*.
What a funny quip, I remember thinking to myself. Then wondering if this bold statement could be true. How could the world be so perverse that you can’t teach someone to care? In reality, the real question we should ask ourselves is can you teach someone to care about what you care about? I would contend that the answer is no if their reason for caring is strictly for your benefit.
Problem Surfacing: If you are a leader or business owner this may be the genesis of a tremendous quagmire. If your people don’t care about the same things you do, are they going to represent your company, brand, product, service, etc the way they need to be to drive maximum success?
The answer is NO!
This begs a question? Why should the employees care about what you do. At the root of this question lies your answer.
First, managers are notorious for driving tasks and failing to relate. “You need to do this because that is how I want it done” or “If you like your job you will do it this way.” Both hollow threats or catalysts for a revolving door.
Second, they shouldn’t. But, they do care about their success which in summation of all the supporting cast equals the organizations success. So how do we unleash their inner desire to care?
Leadership is the key to this riddle. If I were a leader, how would I help my teams to genuinely care about the vision of the company? To deliver at the highest level every time? To make sure our customers are satisfied beyond their expectations?
I parallel it to your childhood, why did you do what you were told? Probably because you feared the consequences, not because you agreed with what you were told. Did it motivate you in any way?
Quote Office Space “It only makes me do just enough not to get fired,” or grounded as a child.
In short, there are 2 major considerations here that both warrant lengthy discussions (most to be had at a later time)
1. Motivation – No matter how much you wish they would be, people aren’t motivated to make you successful. They are sometimes motivated by money, power, prestige, or survival (and other ways too). So if you think they are going to do you a favor to be nice, I would think again. (If you believe that, you probably are way over your head)
2. Power – It is critical that leaders understand that the most influential power does not come from your title, reward, or coerciveness. It really comes from your know how, and your track record. We will call that Knowledge and Referent Power. In short, you cannot lead people consistently by crossing your arms, paying them more, or scaring them. People will respond to you out of respect for your accomplishments, your passion, and your track record for success
So can you teach Give a Shi*?
The answer is yes, but you can’t teach it for the reason’s that you may give a (sh)it.