Joe Biden Wrote an Extremely Inspiring Letter to His Workers. Each Sensible Chief Ought to Copy It

This is a story about President-Elect Joe Biden and a letter he wrote to his staff that has just been released.

Whether you supported Biden, President Trump, or anyone in the recent election, read it and consider doing something similar in your company.

The letter is from 2014, when the elected president was serving as vice president in his second term. After the simple greeting, “To My Wonderful Staff:” only 126 words are displayed.

From there it goes like this:

I want to take a moment and make something clear to everyone. I do not expect or want any of you to miss out on or sacrifice important family commitments for work.

Family obligations include family birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, religious ceremonies such as first communions and bar mitzvahs, school leaving certificates, and times of need such as illness or loss in the family.

This is very important to me. In fact, I will go so far as to say that I will be greatly disappointed if I find out that you are working with me while missing out on important family responsibilities. This has been an unwritten rule since my days in the Senate.

Thank you for your hard work.

This is a damn good letter, and unsurprisingly, it has gone semi-viral after being shared on social media recently.

I would have written the same column if it had been President Trump’s letter, by the way. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or something else political, I hope you will deconstruct it and get three important things from it:

First, it informs everyone of the boss’s priorities.

We’ll get to the empathy of the following message, but I think the easily overlooked part of this message is contained in two passages – where Biden says he wants to “make something clear to everyone” and repeats that the rules he lays out are ” very important for me”.

Nothing discourages a team more than not being sure what the boss thinks is really important. Here Biden takes the time to write down that under certain circumstances his employees should put their personal life before work – and if they don’t, “I will be very disappointed”.

There isn’t much room for confusion.

Second, it’s incredibly empathetic.

This is the core of the message – Biden tells his team that he expects them to prioritize and that work isn’t always a top priority.

We can probably lay Biden on the couch and think about why, given the difficult moments in his life, he felt it was important to say this: the story of how he lost his first wife and daughter in a car accident in 1972, and the fact that his son Beau had fought cancer.

(At the time of this letter, younger Biden’s cancer was in remission, although he later died after its recurrence.)

But even if you don’t know his personal story, you can imagine that this is the type of message that instills loyalty and respect. In all fairness, this is the kind of message you are likely to want to get your team across. But do you actually take the time to do it?

Finally, I think we should pay attention to what the message doesn’t say.

It certainly doesn’t mean that work should never be a high priority. Notice the things that Biden did not consider “important family responsibilities”.

For example, he doesn’t list family vacations or leaves work to see the sporting event or a son or daughter’s performance.

Maybe sometimes these things are allowed to take precedence, maybe not, but the letter just doesn’t go that far.

But making it clear that there are limits to what to expect does not undermine the importance of the work people have done or their commitment to their work.

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, what’s the big deal? Of course, I don’t want my team members to be missed at a family wedding, funeral, or important religious ceremony for work.

If so, I will ask you three important questions:

Does your team know?

In particular: Do the newest members of your team who have not been around that long and may not feel so confident in their positions know this?

Did you take the time to remind them all in writing?

Here is your chance. It’s probably something they’re supposed to be doing anyway. And it’s a simple leadership gesture that could pay off.

The opinions expressed by columnists here are their own, not those of

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