I got you
I was in a meeting this week where I gained two new members on my team, in that meeting, the director who was doing the hand-off handled the transition as if he was dropping his own children off at a college campus for the first time. He spoke in a way that the two employees knew they mattered, a lot, to the organization and more importantly - they were important to him. He used words to express that while things are changing, he would always be available to them and that at the end of the day this would be great for everyone.
Even if change is scary at times.
I left that meeting with the understanding that I have BIG shoes to fill with these two employees as the guy who had them in his charge made sure they were protected, empowered, had autonomy when they needed it and support when they wanted it. They understood where they were going as a team and how they would get there, together.
Fast forward to last night, I was feeding my newborn son a bottle a little bit after midnight and all of a sudden Jack came out of his milk coma to become alert and curious about his surroundings and our eyes locked for the first time.
"Don't worry buddy, I got you." I whispered to him, then it hit me.
The common complaint about corporate culture is "the company only cares about money," and in most cases that is probably true. The enity known as "the company" as if we are in a George Orwell or Max Berry novel likely only cares about emperical data and is not interested or more correctly put, not capable of mustering up empathy for a single employee.
An employee requires a human touch, empathy, and understanding, which is why the role of a manager or director becomes vital to the health and well-being of an organization. This is not to say that a manager needs to be a defacto parent or even babysit, although these things happen. No, a great manager needs to be able to look that employee in the eye and with zero hesitation say, "I got you."
When an employee joins a new company or even a more minor switch to a new team there is an adjustment that needs to be made. This is time is paramount to make sure that employee feels safe. Safe to ask questions, safe to make mistakes, and even built up when there are wins they are responsible for.
We are charged with having a team of people in our care for the time that they are in our organizations or on our teams. These people leave their families, boyfriends, girlfriends, cats, or dogs to get into a car and come to work where they will spend nearly 80% of their adult lives in a corporate environment.
It is our job to look them in the eye every day and say, "don't worry, I got you."