A Boss’s Ripple Effect…on Employee Engagement

It’s the call no one wants to get. The call from a family member who tells you a loved one is severely ill.

It was 2003 when I received that call on a brisk, cloudy October morning, shortly after I had arrived to work. My brother-in-law had been taken to the hospital by ambulance and the outcome didn’t look good.  He was on a ventilator and the doctors didn’t know whether he would ever be able to breathe on his own again. I still remember that moment vividly. After I hung up the phone, I sat in my office staring at my desk in shock. He was in his 40’s and had three young children. This couldn’t be happening.

In honor of National Bosses Day, this blog is dedicated to bosses who bring humanity to the workplace and value employees as people and beyond what they contribute to the organization. It’s a tribute to my boss at the time, Tony, and how he handled my family crisis.

Go, be with your family

Unable to concentrate and focus on my work, I told my boss the situation. He immediately said, “Go, be with your family.” We both knew the work that wouldn’t get done that day and a project deadline was looming.

When a boss hears that an employee is in a situation like this, his/her reaction says a lot about the type of leader they are and what their priorities are. My boss made an immediate decision in that moment of what was most important, family. His support and encouragement to leave work and go to the hospital heightened the respect I already had for him.

A Boss’s Words and Actions Matter

If you’re a boss reading this, know that your words and actions matter. How you interact with your employees creates the conditions of how well your employees perform and treat one another, and ultimately, on your organization’s bottom line. Choose to be a boss who makes an impact, so your employees thrive at work and at home.

I went on to work for Tony for several more years. While this particular event happened 15 years ago, his response has stuck with me. He modeled what research supports…the greatest predictor of employee engagement is when a boss takes a genuine interest in employees and what matters to them.

This is our final blog in the three-part series on “The Impact of a Boss” which included “A Boss’s Ripple Effect on Business Culture” and a “Boss’s Ripple Effect on Employee Retention”.  Click here to read our other blogs to strengthen your leadership impact and organizational health.

Workplace Conflict Expert Bonnie Artman Fox, MS, LMFT, works with executive leaders and team managers who want to stop divisive behaviors, resolve conflict, and build the team trust needed to create a healthy work culture.  Contact Bonnie to help your employees get along and bring teams together.

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