It’s a common ask from any Business/Company to hire and develop more effective managers and leaders who have the right capability to move their organization forward during both good and challenging times. But currently Workplace & Workforce both are going through a transformation and it requires looking beyond traditional management strategies and the skills. And one of those skills, perhaps unexpectedly, is empathy – a vital leadership competency.
Empathetic leadership means having the ability to understand the needs of others, and being aware of their feelings and thoughts. Unfortunately, it has long been a soft skill that’s overlooked as a performance indicator.
But at the same time, Employees also should consider this Leadership competency as a support ecosystem and avoid taking any undue advantage.
It’s important to remember the difference between sympathy and empathy, as the 2 are often confused. Empathy in the workplace is often more productive and Sympathy is typically defined by feelings of pity for another person, without really understanding their situation.
In a survey of global staffing firm Robert Half, 34% of US workers said they feel more burned out at work than they did a year ago.
During times of pandemic, your team is full of fears and going through a tough time. A boss does not care about the feelings of an individual, the only thing he or she cares, is the output. On the other hand, an empathetic leader understands that not all days will be productive days, your team is going to make mistakes, you need to stand with your team to help them improve every day.
Ways Leaders Can Show Empathy in the Workplace.
1. Create a Culture to value Empathy –
It’s an old saying that, “A team is as good as the leader.” If you want your team to start sharing their feelings with you, it is you who needs to take the initiative. Show your low points, you also feel anxious at times, feel low in confidence.
It is not easy for people to share their feelings with everyone, but in a comfortable environment, they can easily do it. When your team members genuinely feel that they are not going to be judged, people are there to listen and you genuinely care.
2. Take a sincere interest in the needs, hopes, and dreams of other people.
Part of leading with empathy involves working to understand the unique needs and goals of each team member and how to best match work assignments to contribute to both performance and employee satisfaction. Team members who see that their manager recognizes them in this way are more engaged and willing to go the extra mile.
3. Encourage people to share –
Everyone is bottle up with emotions. All of us are on an emotional ride due to the pandemic. But we have a habit of sharing our emotions only with our close ones. You need to encourage people to open up, share the feelings they are going through.
Ask them, “why they were not efficient yesterday?”, “What kept them awake last time?” , “How they are dealing with negativity?” All of these questions will help them to open up, and give them a sense of feeling that you genuinely care. A Salesforce report " The Impact of Equality and Values-Driven Business" exposed that the employee produces 4.6 times better results at work when leaders pay attention to them.
4. Become accessible to seek emotions – People are not going to come to you and start hearing their deep feelings out of blue. You need to find out people going through emotional trauma, by observing their day-to-day behavior and talking with them. When you listen to understand instead of replying, you can sense if something is wrong with someone.
Everyone is through a rough time during this pandemic. The employees are going through mental pressure, emotional rides, work-life imbalance
and, many things. As a leader, you need to develop a high EQ to work efficiently with your team. It is high time when your team needs your empathetic leadership