The 12 Most Desired Yet Unrequested Forms of Care | #Leadership

Leaders, have employees ever told you that you are very caring? That you always know how to connect in the right way? Leaders who get this positive feedback understand one thing – people define caring differently.

Or do you hear the reverse? Do they say that you seem insensitive to other’s needs — that you have no heart. You may want to scream out, “Tell me what you want. I’m not a mind reader!”

Most care is desired yet unrequested. When people are lonely, upset, demoralized, disengaged, angry, or hurt, they most likely want one of the following twelve forms of care.

12 Most Desired Unrequested Forms of Care Image by:unloveablesteve

As The People Skills Coach™, I teach corporate teams how to interact more successfully during tough times. These folks tell me that they use the following information in their everyday lives as well. You can increase your emotional intelligence and connect better with others when they are feeling bad.

1.Quiet Listening.

If you have ever given your opinion to upset team members or loved ones and they snapped at you, you have learned that quiet listening is what they want. Their questions are not questions requiring an answer. They feel better just knowing that someone else has heard their pain.


One of the most common desires for care is empathy — the sense that someone else truly knows how they feel. Empathy gives those in pain a needed boost to work through their struggle.


These people want to know you agree with them. Quiet listening falls far short and can enrage those seeking reinforcement of what they feel. If you truly disagree, do not tell them while they are upset. They won’t hear you and you will seem like an uncaring fool.


By the time most people say they want support, you have let them down. Those who want support but don’t request it up front, are requesting it in the care they give you when they support you. They find it distasteful to have to ask for it out loud. They believe their supportive actions speak volumes. They don’t understand why you haven’t heard them. Listen to their actions when they help you and show them care when they are having tough times.


People turn to others when they want encouragement — especially if their family has not learned to encourage them. When they want to take a risk and try something new, they want you to encourage them beyond the fear and doubt.

6.Devil’s Advocate or Tough Love.

Be careful of this one. Ask permission first. If this isn’t what they want, assuming this is what people want can make you seem like an insensitive oaf.
A Short Story: A college friend and I are quite different when it comes to dating. She is more willing to give men the benefit of the doubt. She had been through two relationships where men treated her badly and both ended in break-ups. On the third time around in a bad relationship, she asked me what she should do. Surprised that she would ask me, I said to her “Are you sure you want my opinion?” She chuckled and said, “Yes, I am asking you because I know you’ll tell me to drop the bum.”


There are people who find knowledge a great comfort. They don’t want your opinion they want your knowledge. Perhaps you have been through a similar situation and they want to hear options they haven’t considered. Perhaps you have professional training they want to tap. Give them your knowledge not your advice.


Team members and friends that want insight will show both vulnerability and strength. They are starting to move beyond the pain and want you to help them to think it through. They want more than knowledge and less than a solution. A combination of “maybe statements” and questions are the dynamic duo here.


Are you jumping for joy now that we have reached this one? Many people, when they hear other’s pain want to offer a solution. They convince themselves that it is logical. The sooner the solution, the quicker the pain goes away. Unfortunately, to someone not ready for a solution –the “get over it quick” approach seems brutishly insensitive. In this case, go back to empathy and validation before you offer a solution.


When people are scared and in pain, strength may be the greatest care possible. Strength reduces the fear. It gives them a sense of control and empowers them to deal with the pain. Offer your strength without judging. Judging makes them feel weaker. Strength makes them feel stronger.


If you are known as action-oriented, colleagues and friends may come to you to help them move forward. Since they don’t ask directly, it takes practice to spot how fast they are ready to move. You may trip if you push them too quickly. If you misstep and push too hard, apologize. Don’t tell them they are dragging their heels.


Perhaps the easiest to see is the desire for outrage. When people express their outrage over being wronged, it is a safe bet that eventually they want to hear “You deserve to be treated better.” You don’t have to bad mouth those who wronged them just show outrage over what was done to them.


Of these 12 desired yet unrequested forms of care, which one do you most often want? If your answer is “it depends”, then you understand why others have varying needs. If you always want the same thing, remember that not everyone is like you.

The biggest mistake you can make is to treat others they way you want to be treated. You must treat them the way they want to be treated.

If you care enough to learn what they want and how to show that care, you will succeed. Learn from one instance to the next. Your emotional intelligence will soar. Your employees, professional colleagues, teammates, friends and loved ones will be impressed and grateful.

Which form of care surprised you & what did you learn?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

©2011-2016 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Related posts:
Leadership People Skills: When Tough Leaders Show Empathy
Are You Using These Steps to Develop Emotional Intelligence
15 Not So Obvious People Skills for Success

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


Engage in people skills learning!

Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience.

I invite your questions, welcome your wisdom, and look forward to working with you.
~Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

14 Responses to “The 12 Most Desired Yet Unrequested Forms of Care | #Leadership”

  1. Khalid says:


    That’s an excellent wonderful post!

    It take a very smart and heartful person to feel those 12 unrequested forms of care!
    I bet you have them all 🙂

    Thanks for enlightening my mind!

    I think I’m missing the encouragement part at work! My boss is very demoralized and he rarely push me to do the job! It could be coz I’m a self motivated person but I seek his feedback and encouragement which I can’t request from because he simply won’t give it 🙁


  2. Wesley Woods says:

    Hello Kate,

    I think you made a great point with #1 (Quiet Listening). There tends to be a natural reaction in business and life to find a solution to the problem rather than trying to understand the emotional need of the communicator. When the listener attempts to bring resolution to the problem without understanding the need, a situation is created where the communicator feels they aren’t being heard and the listener feels their advice isn’t valued.

    I remember (years ago) in college learning about the concept of “procedural justice” in the communication process. The professor gave an example of a person standing in front of a judge in a courtroom. Before the person could even speak (to vent their concerns), the judge rendered a judgment in their favor. The professor explained that even though the person received a favorable ruling, they may still feel an injustice because they never had the chance to communicate their viewpoint.

    So, in short, it’s important for the listener to hear the need before supplying the solution because the “answer” may not be the real answer.

    Wesley Woods
    Leadership Transition Specialist

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Many thanks for you contribution. I never heard the phrase ‘procedural justice’ before. Your professor’s example is a good one because the emotional need of the communicator is a powerful force inside of them.

      So pleased you shared this with everyone here at Smart SenseAbilities(tm).


  3. Excellent list! It’s difficult for me to figure out which one/s would be best in a given role (boss, husband, dad, son, friend) at a given time. Very important to keep communication open and honest to find the best fit.

  4. Shawn Murphy says:

    Having recently lost my Nana unexpectedly, #7 speaks volumes to me. Grief is tricky in that some deny it and others allows themselves to go through it. While others are somewhere in between. What helped me tremendously was the knowledge family and friends shared about how they dealt with the sadness and telling me it never goes away. There’s an odd comfort hearing those words. The knowing brought us together.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Shawn,
      Your comment moved me personally for I lost my Nana a few years back. She was one month short of her 100 birthday!! There is an odd sadness for things you can never do again and it is there forever. It gets less painful yet — never goes away. And you are so right that the “knowing” brings people together. I think that is the reasoning behind support groups etc… because people can share the knowing.

      I am so honored that you shared your personal story here and I send you my condolences and true sympathy for your loss.

      Warmest wishes,

  5. Shawn Murphy says:

    P.S. Seeing the vintage picture of Sorry made me smile. Brought me back to my childhood.

  6. Kate,

    Great list! I, too, am drawn your #1, Quiet Listening. How often I’ve found myself in a place of wishing that the other person could be present for me, in a quiet way, and not jump to solving my problem. How powerful for me, and possibly for the listener, to discover my answer or, merely, have the space to release my pain. It does go both ways, though. I’ve noticed that the friends and colleagues with and to whom I want to invest time and emotions are the ones that are able to listen and who feel safe with me to have me listen to them.

    #12 also resonates in that it calls for no judgement or anything else but pure love for the other person.

    Be well — Renee

    • Kate Nasser says:

      I like your wording Renne — just “be present” for me. There is SO much value in it and yet many don’t get it. Thanks for your resonating on this item so well.

  7. Gary says:

    If someone wants validation, yet you disagree, how do you provide them with validation? You cannot disagree when they are angry, as you say, because you will seem like an uncaring fool. I’ve been in this situation before, unsure of how to respond.

    Great list, definitely will use the suggestions.

    Uncaring Fool 😉

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Gary,
      If you truly are at the opposite view it is hard to give validation directly. However, you can give care by asking them a coupld of open ended questions that invite them to state how they wanted to be treated or what outcome they wanted. By giving them voice and listening, they sometimes feel validated. It actually works. Try it!
      All the best,

  8. Kathi Browne says:

    Oh this post couldn’t be more timely. Last night my husband started telling me about a struggle he was having. Trying to think more like a man than a woman, I began chiming in with ways to fix the problem (men want solutions, women want an ear, right?). He quickly cut me off and huffed, “I just want you to listen, okay?” Who turned the tables without me knowing it?

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Kathi,
      I am still laughing on your story — your husband asking if you could just “listen” and you wondered when did the tables turn. That is so classicly ironic.

      It also highlights that everyone — of any gender, age, or type — has varying needs for care!
      Truly appreciate your contribution here.
      Best regards,

  9. This article is awesome! Applicable in the church setting as well.

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