Building Caring Science Into The DNA Of Business Leadership
In the recent State of the Global Workplace report, Gallup (2021) found that thriving employees report significantly fewer health problems; less worry, stress, sadness, depression, and anger; and more hope, happiness, energy, interest, and respect. However, the report states that roughly seven in ten employees are struggling or suffering in life, rather than thriving (Gallup, 2021). As owner of a private consultant firm, the author works with business leaders to address this alarming trend through executive coaching, in-person and virtual keynote presentations, workshops, and online classes that instruct how to lead through uncertainty. Though successful, this Caritas Coach® recognized a need to evolve and ground the work with a relevant theoretical framework, substantial research, and biogenic language. This Caritas Coach was drawn to Caring Science because of alignment with the author’s core philosophy of leading with heart-centered intelligence, recognizing the role of healing words, and honoring the whole person. Most importantly, as this Caritas Coach matriculated through the Caritas Coach Education Program® (CCEP), transpersonal caring moments were experienced and this choice was solidified. Caring Science offers a paradigm shift in how companies can lead differently through love of humanity. As Dr. Jean Watson states, “Caring Science at a deeper level takes us into the emerging future, even though we may not grasp it fully as of yet, but it is on the horizon of an evolving consciousness of humankind” (2008, p. xii).
⭐️ Significance: Four million people quit their jobs in June 2021, the largest number ever recorded by the U.S. Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021). Workers suffered burnout due to COVID-19 pandemic. A labor shortage contributed to canceled flights and stranded passengers, reduced hours of operation in businesses, and more. Workers were encouraged to return to work fully vaccinated or lose employment. At the same time, many individuals were reassessing life, career, and existence. The volcano of the soul had erupted, and a lava of questions flowed fast and furious as people grappled with the vicissitudes of the pandemic. A Caring Science orientation moved humanity closer to a moral community, closer to peaceful relationships with self and others (Watson, 2008).
👏 Purpose: The purpose of this project is to introduce Caring Science Literacy (Lee et al., 2017) to business leaders to evolve in consciousness by awakening abilities to care, love, and practice kindness. In turn, leaders will put people before profit as individuals are seen as human beings instead of human doings, which will be vital in attracting, activating, and advancing talent in organizations.
Setting and Participants: This project commenced with a Fortune 500 company, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry, with 2,800 stores in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. The author was invited to lead the Fortune 500 Companies Summer Virtual Leadership Series, along with a Senior Executive. The Fortune 500 company’s purpose for 3,000 managers participating in the education was to reframe thinking about leading and coaching teams, moving from behavioral response to love and heart-centered intelligence, aligning with the Fortune 500 companies’ internal messaging: “When team members feel loved by the Fortune 500 company, they will demonstrate love and create an exceptional team member and customer experience for all.”
📝 Project Description/Process: In July, August, and September 2021, a unique, one-hour virtual Zoom session was slated for each month at two separate times, as well as recorded to allow all 3,000 managers to attend the mandatory education. Each session began with the author leading a centering exercise, creating an environment of belonging, and providing education on the month’s focus, sharing Caritas Processes® and content from the author’s book (Bailey, 2018). Participants were asked to volunteer and share a coaching experience that addressed critical issues. This Caritas Coach shared relevant Caring Science philosophy/practices for discussion and the company’s VP described correlation to company mission. Simultaneously, participants posted feedback and takeaways in the virtual chat feature. In the first session on July 29, 2021, Caritas Process 5 was suggested as a key philosophy for leaders to Be Authentically Present when coaching team members to embrace change. Additionally, a new Caritas Leadership Tool created by this Caritas Coach was discussed, showing the connections between Caritas Processes and caring leadership. After a volunteer presented a scenario, this Caritas Coach shared relevant Caring Science philosophy/Caritas Processes for reflection and the VP tied the concepts to company philosophy of moving to heart-intelligent, heart-centric leadership.
📊 Project Outcomes/Projected Outcomes: Biggest takeaways shared by participants: starting the day with centering; authentic presence when listening to the ideas of team members; and discussing coaching experiences with real-time solutions to real-time problems. In future sessions, leaders will continue to enhance abilities to lovingly care for employees.
📈 Project Evaluation: The Fortune 500 company used Cornerstone, an internal evaluation tool, to collect data for the first session. Participant results ranged from 94% to 97% in the categories of confidence in ability to personalize approach, confidence in ability to see all people as guests, facilitation effectiveness, and content effectiveness for learning. Additional evaluation will occur through annual employee surveys, management performance reviews, and monthly customer satisfaction surveys.
📣 Future Directions: Caring Science will be infused into future collaborations with the Fortune 500 company and the author’s business through keynote presentations, workshops, executive coaching, and writing.
❤️ Acknowledgement: Special thanks to Grissel Hernandez, PhD, MPH, RN, HNB-BC, Caritas Coach; Jill Blackbourn, RN, Caritas Coach, my CCEP Coach; the Senior Executive and the Fortune 500 Team; and Jean Watson, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN, (LL-AAN) for her kind feedback on the Caritas Leadership Tool and request to do a joint publication together.
Bailey, S. (2018). Be the Spark – Five Platinum Service Principles for Creating Customers for Life. Windermere: Brilliant Publishing.
Lee, P., Palmieri, P., & Watson, J. (2017). Global advances in human caring literacy. Springer Publishing.
Gallup (2021). State of Global Workplace: 2021. Washington: Gallup World Headquarters.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021, August 9). Job Openings and Labor Turnover — June 2021. [News release.] Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/jolts.pdf
Watson, J. (2008). Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring. Revised & Updated Edition. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.