Understanding the influence we have with the people we interact with and actually doing something with it – this is caring.
There is a lot to know about care in the profession of day work that I’m in, from legalistic interpretations (“duty of care”) to all manner of safety leadership approaches which major on, and leverage off, the more loving care of empathy and support.
But I’m acutely aware of models of care we use where we miss the basic point of care, from the humanitarian viewpoint. This below is a model that will work.
First and foremost we have to understand and accept the frailties of common humanity. People not only make mistakes, have accidents and forget things, they will take risks that are calculated and planned, as well as those that aren’t. We will disobey the rules to get where we hope to go.
Accepting this as just a part of human nature is important for us to care. We therefore do not hold anything against anyone for ‘doing stupid things,’ for we all do them.
Although this is the second cab off the rank, it’s no less important; in fact, a true grasp on integrity will lead us very effectively and quite quickly to having an accepting understanding of humanity’s frailties. Our integrity will help us see the truth.
But integrity is more. It is the sort of thing that comes out and shines for us when the chips are down and when we’re tested in the light of day. Integrity shines most as far as our instincts are concerned. How do we react without much time to think about it? Integrity is about all that investment we’ve made in building a heart dedicated to the truth.
Integrity is moral fruitfulness in the meandering of life.
And so the model builds itself... nothing can be achieved, with note, without the presence of competence. We cannot care with authenticity without competence, or knowing what to care about and how to do it. Sure, integrity will get us most of the way there, but a lack of competence will see us fall yards short of the finish line.
And what would be the use of that? Our care would fail without adherence to competence. Some are naturally competent; others have to work harder at it. The key question is, “Does caring come naturally?” i.e. do others feel cared for when we care? Be honest.
These Three Combined = Achieved Trust and Respect
When we’ve got all three in tow—a working, accepting understanding of humanity; high integrity; and, competence to know and ‘do’ the caring well—the product is the achievement of the two great pillars of emotional intelligence: trust and respect.
And this is what we’re after. We cannot truly get to the halcyon of care without authentic, cups-overflowing trust and respect.
Understanding Our Influence and Doing Something Good With It
This is about the quote at top.
Having the right levels of perception to know our influence and then maximise it by exploiting it to care is doing all that is possible to serve those with care that we’re interacting with; to protect and to augment their journeys as much as we can and as much as they’ll allow.
It is a great responsibility to care. Is there a more important general function that we have?
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
I acknowledge the crucial work of Nick Fitzpatrick of Optimus Safety Management herein. www.optimus-she.com