This article is dedicated to the memory of Anna DiLuigi and Carol Leasure. Anna, wife of Andrea Fantozzi, Partner and Italian Global Services Leader at Prager Metis CPAs, recently succumbed to cancer at the age of 48. Carol, a Manager at Prager Metis CPAs, passed away from COVID-19 complications at the age of 78. We continue to send our love and support to their families.
Until recently, most leaders would probably say that the people who comprise their organization are the ones who show up to work and collect a paycheck.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth. After all, where would your team be without the families and support systems behind them?
Spouses, partners, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, and close friends are part of our team. They’re part of our family and our culture as an organization. They have a critical role in the success of our organization.
Think about the support they provide and the sacrifices they make. They’re a sounding board when you’re frustrated, stressed, or just plain tired. They help to shoulder your emotional burden. They give you advice on how to handle certain situations. They provide a different perspective. They pick up the slack at home when you have to work long hours but still encourage you to pursue your passions in life.
Very few people find success, happiness, and fulfillment in their professional or personal life on their own.
I wouldn’t have achieved the success I’ve experienced in my life without the support of my wife. Andrea Fantozzi, a wonderful human being and an important part of the Prager Metis team, says his success is because of his wife, Anna, who offered her unwavering support for both Andrea and the firm.
Anna personified the unsung hero, the person who we might not always see, but she was always there. For Andrea, she’ll always be there.
Making Families the Priority that They Should Be
As leaders, we need to do more to recognize our teams’ families and the important role they play in the success of the organization. More than lip service, there needs to be a cultural commitment to these efforts through both day-to-day activities and structured events.
How much time do your managers and senior leadership spend getting to know the families of your team? How many company events or programs include families? Do you make decisions about benefits packages with families in mind? Is input from families encouraged and requested? If so, how much weight does that input actually carry during decision-making?
Ultimately, conveying appreciation for families is a matter of basic human decency and common sense. In other words, why would somebody work hard for an organization, believe in its vision and culture, and genuinely care about their work if the organization doesn’t reciprocate?
For example, when Andrea had to step away to be with his wife, other partners stepped up to fill his shoes. Andrea has expressed tremendous gratitude for their help. We all were there for him and will continue to be there for him. He can take all the time he needs to grieve and get his affairs in order.
Andrea puts his family first. He happens to be an outstanding talent, but his love for and dedication to his wife, especially during this difficult time, make Andrea the kind of human being we want working for Prager Metis.
At the same time, the partners who didn’t have a second thought about helping their colleague and friend are the kind of people we want working for us, too.
I don’t share this story looking for a pat on the back because, in my mind, this should be a standard expectation in any workplace. It’s just the right thing to do.
Building Relationships with Families
I’ve always believed that there’s nothing wrong with building personal relationships with co-workers. Families are a big part of those relationships.
As CEO of a large organization, it’s not realistic for me to sit down and break bread with the families of every member of our team. What I can do is get to know as many families as possible and make it clear that they are valued.
Make sure your team knows how much you genuinely care about their families in your words, your actions, and your company policies. When you look at every employee, see the bigger
picture that includes their family and support system. These people deserve your appreciation and respect.