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Human Touch - Time

“Good morning Steve, how are you?”

Steve stopped his mopping of the corridor, rested his arms on the top of his mop and spent the next few moments catching up on life with his greeter. It may have only been a few minutes chatting, but as he then settled back to the rhythmic sway of his mop on the floor, his spirit had been lifted and his mopping now had more energy. He was known, he was valued. Most importantly of all he was known and valued by the managing director.

What words had been said that had such an effect on Steve? Was there a magic formula that could be bottled to help empower other staff in this way? The interesting thing is that there is a magic formula, but it is not about the words. It is . . . time.

This month we will be looking at the importance of having the ‘Human Touch’ as leaders. We will see that there are 4 key ingredients that help us build authentic and deep connections with those that we lead:

· Time

· Listening

· Empathy

· The extra mile

Time is a gift

It is the simplest of things, to take a brief moment out of your busy schedule to say hello to the cleaner, to find out his name, his family make up and what interests him. Even more powerful is when we follow it up a few days later to ask how a particular event that he talked about previously has gone. It doesn’t take much to spend a couple of minutes asking a colleague about their weekend before ploughing into the day’s business. It is in these moments we can build relationship and connection through the gift of time.

Rick Warren, author and scholar, outlined the importance of time in his book, ‘The Purpose Driven Life’. He explains that,

“Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can't make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you'll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time. It is not enough to just say relationships are important; we must prove it by investing time in them. Words alone are worthless. "My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action." Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is "T-I-M-E.”

Gifts are a way that we show that we value people and each of us have our preferred ‘love language’, be it a physical gift, touch, time or words of affirmation. For many people, the gift of time is the most welcome; it brings value because it is investing something only you can give in someone.

Time engages people

Steve the Cleaner’s mop moved with more vigour as a result of the interaction with his big boss. When we give people the gift of our time, it provides value and when people feel valued, they act out their value with purpose.

Patrick Lencioni, in his book ‘The truth about employee engagement’, talks about three key things that disengage employees: Anonymity, Irrelevance, and Immeasurement. He explains that when employees feel that they are 1) anonymous, 2) that they don’t know how their role fits or has value and 3) they don’t know how to measure success, that they disengage. Therefore, it is important that our colleagues feel they are known by us, that they and their role have value and that they know when they are being successful. So, when we spend time being present with them, this is a key factor to engage them.

The temptation, when we are busy, is to think that we do not have time to interact with those around us and to place ‘real work’ over the ‘human touch’. This is a dangerous temptation to fall into, though, as we then miss the opportunity to build relationships and to engage people. It is in these moments of ‘human touch’ that we build trust and when trust is there, you are more likely to see and engage the real person and build stronger connection to the organisation’s purpose.


Can we help you?

How is your time management? How are you finding your interaction with colleagues? Would you like some help to build strength in these areas? We can help with coaching to support you in developing them. Give us a call on 01449 710438 if you would like us to help you explore this and empower you and your team.

Everyday Leader is here to empower, inspire and equip you to do that. If we can help you find a way forward, through coaching, training or consultancy, do let us know. Contact us now:


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