Don’t Pretend to Care
Remember when I was a teacher and I got my ass handed to me in the lobby by some students?
My supervisor called me five hours later and went to voicemail: “I hope you’re okay,” he said, “give me a call back. I care about you.”
I called him back and left him a voicemail.
He never called back.
Not ONLY did he never call back, we never discussed it. EVER. Until the day I gave my resignation and he said, “Is this about what happened?”
Because, you know, he CARED.
Boss Ladies and Boss Gentlemen – if you don’t care (and sometimes you won’t)? Don’t pretend to, and don’t half-ass it. Your employees know that you’re faking it, and it makes them LOATHE you. Forever and ever.
Things that fall under the category of pretending to care, in addition to the above, are as follows:
“I really wish we could hire some help so you’re not working 60 hours a week. Except, you know, we’re not going to.”
“It’s important to me that you have a personal life. Hey, you can work from 6 am to 8 pm on Friday, right? And come in on Saturday, too? That’s awesome.”
“Enjoy your vacation. Get some rest. Oh, you’re going to be able to check your email while you’re gone, right? And can you dial into the conference call? Great. Yeah, have a good time. Don't even think about work!”
“I know you’re getting divorced and that sucks. Could you try to be more cheerful? You’re bringing me down.”
“I would LOVE to be able to give everyone a raise, but it’s just not feasible. Oh. Did I tell you that I just hired two new programmers? Do you know how much those guys MAKE?”
If you don't care? Don't try to act like you do. Just ... don't. It's better to have a boss who doesn't care than to have one who pretends he does.
Thus endeth the lesson