Would you fire your boss? Many employees would if they could. Results from a Gallup Management Journal survey reveal that 24 percent of employees would fire their boss if given the chance.

Gallup studied the responses to determine if the level of the employees’ engagement was a factor in whether employees would fire their boss. Not surprisingly 51% of those in the “disengaged” category wanted to see their immediate supervisor or manager gone. These are the same people who said that their boss did not care about them.

The truth is, it’s a lot easier to be nice to the employees who like you than it is to those who do not. Here are some simple things that supervisors and managers can do today to show disengaged coworkers that they really do value them as a person — not just an employee.

3 Acts of Kindness That Show You Care

  1. Take the high road. OK, so one of your disengaged employees looks daggers at you whenever you meet. Your first inclination is to return the fire. Don’t go there.
  2. Try to see them as a suffering human being. The fact is, we are all in the same boat. Every human being on Earth has the same needs and desires. We all have a basic need for others to care about us and value us for our unique combination of talents and abilities.
  3. Make an extra effort to be understanding. For example, the next time they request a small thing such as leaving early to attend their child’s class play, try to accommodate them. Sure, they may not “deserve” it, but if it’s in your power to do it — make it so.

Showing kindness to people who are probably not going to reciprocate (at least at first) will require you to make a conscious effort not to react the way you used to. To be successful, you will need to be fully present and mindful during each conversation.

The easiest, most effective technique you can use to maintain emotional control in challenging situations is to utilize what I call the acronym SODA — an ancient four-step process for remaining calm and focused — no matter what happens.

How to apply SODA with a prickly employee

Let’s say one of your disengaged employees comes to you with a problem. Here is how how you’d use the SODA idea step by step.

Step 1. Stop. Pause for a nanosecond to allow yourself to remain calm and composed. This places you in the present moment, allowing you to see things clearly.

Step 2. Observe what is. Your self-talk might be: “Well, what is really going on here is that she is obviously suffering. She is probably suffering in other aspects of her life that I have no way of seeing. I need to be compassionate.”

Step 3. Decide to behave differently than before by responding only after you calmly listen to fully understand her situation.

Step 4. Act. Respond to her in a manner that shows you respect her and genuinely care about her and her plight.

I guarantee that if you can remember to use SODA when you talk with an unhappy employee, you will end up feeling a lot better about yourself. They will feel better, too. Who knows? Eventually your disengaged folks may think you aren’t so bad after all!

Barbara Burke is an internationally known consultant, speaker, and author specializing in the “people side” of customer service management.