Monday, May 08, 2006

"Caring" As A Strategy for Managers and Talent

My visit to see my parents this past weekend included a couple of trips to Starbucks and some local radio consumption. Saturday morning I was listening to WIOD’s Aron Bender interview author A. J. Scribante (“Shelf Life: How an Unlikely Entrepreneur Turned $500 into $65 Million in the Grocery Industry) – not because I have designs on doing the same, but because it was what was on my dad’s car radio and I didn’t want to change his pre-sets.

The interview was interesting enough despite a few clich├ęs at the end – one of which was, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

A few minutes later over coffee I opened my monthly email from “The Point” ( which contained a similar-themed article from Susanne Biro, a former barber-turned-executive coach who attributes her success as a stylist not to her scissor skills, but because she fostered a caring relationship with each client. She writes,

…My clients were no longer just clients but rather, we became two people who had genuine respect for one another. And above all, here's what I learned about leadership: more than anything else what we all want is someone to genuinely care about us - to tell us the honest truth, to challenge us, to stop seeing us as our predetermined roles (whether it be CEO or barber) and start seeing us as people with the potential we desperately want to see in ourselves. The key word here is care. When we believe another person genuinely cares about us and our success, we will grant that person concessions we will not grant others…

People are the business of leaders. Our main task is to treat others in such a way that they want to bring all their unique gifts, talents and discretionary effort forward to achieve a collective goal, the goal of the business. And so it is that each of us must master the art of effectively interacting with people in order to get things done. This, perhaps above all else, is the leader's real challenge.

Certainly this is a good reminder for those of us who coach our staffers, helping them to recognize and fully utilize their skills.

However there’s insight here for talent as well. The best talent are often seen by their listeners as having the same characteristics: understanding, respecting and caring about them. In other words, someone with whom they have a one-to-one relationship.

The next time you’re listening to a show, listen for what sounds like a personal conversation between the talent and the listener – a one-to-one dialogue built on mutual interests, insights, understanding, friendship and respect.

And if you want to read about a talent who was a MASTER at one-to-one, visit the articles and archives section at and scroll down to a piece I wrote a few years back called, “42 Years On Top: Six Principles Behind The Success Of One Of America's Greatest Air Talents…Dan Daniel.”

Let me hear about your efforts!


Susanne Biro is Director of Coaching for Bluepoint Leadership Development. She may be reached via email at


girard31 said...

Can't access article without password...

Mike O'Malley said...

Thanks - it's now available at