Jim has one employee who reports to him. Her name is Jennifer. They had worked together for nearly three years. Like any manager and direct report relationship, they had had their ups and downs—butting heads with one another on occasion—mostly due to personality differences.
Recently, Jennifer returned to work from maternity leave. She was a little apprehensive on her first day back in the office. After all, it was her first day being away from her newborn baby in almost 7 weeks. Jennifer called Jim early that afternoon. She told him that she wanted to leave work a couple of hours early to pick up her baby from the nursery. She explained that she missed the baby and wanted to be with him. Jim, seeing where she was taking the conversation, stopped Jennifer in mid-sentence.
“Go ahead. I was wondering when you were going to ask me for the afternoon off,” he said with a wide smile on his face.
Jennifer was elated. She quickly packed-up her things and left the office to pick-up her baby.
I have known and heard of many managers and supervisors who would have played hardball with Jennifer.
Understanding the needs of your employees, emotional or otherwise, is tantamount to being a servant leader. What may not be important to the manager means the world to the employee.