In the workplace, we need more empathy. The pandemic has taught us the value of doing so. As a corporate leader or manager, you probably spend a lot of time honing and developing the skills and attributes you believe will help you be more effective in your role, such as creativity, vision, decisiveness, and expertise. While these are crucial attributes for leaders to possess, one of the most important is empathy, which is a fundamental component of what makes us human.
Empathy is the ability to comprehend and share another person’s feelings. It’s a crucial component of emotional intelligence that most of us employ in our daily lives as we negotiate our relationships with the world and people around us.
Empathetic leadership is the ability to lead while being aware of others’ thoughts and feelings, as well as their circumstances, experiences, and needs. It’s having the ability to live and feel someone else’s tale as if it were our own. The tale that is playing in our heads is frequently different from the story that is playing in the heads of others. This is something that empathetic leaders are aware of.
Why is it so vital in business to have empathy? There are many ideas, but they all boil down to one simple fact: we are all human beings, managers and team members alike, and human beings are emotional creatures, regardless of our job titles.
A culture of empathy has a significant positive impact on employee morale, productivity, retention, and loyalty, as well as on employee mental health, according to research and anecdotal evidence. It’s also demonstrated to be effective at breaking up deadlocks and stalemates, resulting in significant shareholder value. We typically see the world through the lens of who we are rather than what it is. Having a perspective that is devoid of empathy can lead us to believe that the world is cruel and lonely.
In this age of youthful, autonomous, highly marketable, and mobile workers, empathy is especially important for leadership development. Dr. Daniel Goleman isolates three reasons why empathy is so important in a popular Harvard Business Review article titled “What Makes a Leader?”: the growing use of teams, the rapid pace of globalization, and the growing need to retain talent. “
Empathy is defined as the ability to read and comprehend the feelings of another. Managers can improve their sympathetic abilities by putting in the effort to develop a personal bond with each member of their team.
In a few of ways, forming a more intimate bond is beneficial to you. For starters, it provides you with insight into the many ways in which people of your team express emotion. Because no two people express emotion in the same manner, it’s vital to take the time to learn how each person you work with expresses this information.
Beyond that, building a personal bond with your team members or employees will show them that you care about them as people, not just what they can do for the company’s bottom line. Forming these ties positions you as a team member’s ally, promoting a culture of more open communication that can lead to truly inventive problem-solving discussions and solutions.
How can you help your team form these vital, intimate bonds? Being a better listener is a terrific place to start. Speak with your coworkers. Ask them about their life and keep track of the specifics, such as spouses’ names, children’s names, pets’ names, hobbies, and personal histories. Putting up this tiny amount of effort will set the groundwork for extremely powerful ties to form.
It can be tough to gain a good picture of your team’s emotional state at times. Perhaps you’ve recently joined a new team and haven’t yet had the chance to develop the required personal relationships. Perhaps you’ve relocated to a new company where employees have learnt to hide or filter their actual feelings from their bosses. Maybe the company has just had a terrible quarter or a wave of layoffs, and the employees aren’t sure if being so emotionally open is a good idea.
Whatever the case may be, there are still actions you can do to obtain significant emotional insight into your team’s thinking in instances like these. Putting oneself in the shoes of your team members is one method to obtain this understanding. Consider how you would react in a similar situation. What would you do in this situation? What do you want or anticipate from your boss? What more could you ask for? Use these ideas to improve your management techniques, create rapport, and promote the amount of communication required to be successful in your profession.
Becoming a better listener is one of the simplest methods to increase your empathy skills. After all, every discussion you have, whether with a subordinate or a superior, is an opportunity to create relationships, build rapport, and enable the free flow of ideas that might help your company flourish. Many people lack the ability to actually listen. What’s the good news? To become better listeners, we only need to remember what we taught in elementary school: pay attention, don’t interrupt, and don’t get distracted.
Listening, of course, entails more than just paying attention to what your teammates are saying. It entails being aware of the emotions conveyed by those words, as well as the nonverbal indicators, including as body language, tone of voice, and mannerisms, that reveal your team members’ mental condition. If nonverbal communication accounts for 80% of communication, relying just on the words uttered means you’re only getting 20% of the message.
Active listening abilities enable you to show your team that you value what they have to say, their perspectives, and yourself, in addition to making you a better communicator.
Empathy and emotional intelligence may be incorporated into your management style just like any other talent. While some people will be fine following the recommendations above and experimenting on their own to discover a balance that works for them, their team, and their company, others may find it simpler to improve their abilities by attending a workshop, taking a class, or even earning an advanced degree. In the end, the optimal course of action will be the one that best suits your learning style and professional objectives.
One of the most significant qualities a leader may possess is the capacity to empathize with his or her team. Flexing your emotional intelligence muscles will enable you to establish an open communication culture, understand your team’s motivations and concerns, and cultivate trusted relationships that will help your company achieve its strategic business goals.
Check out my related post: Do you have emotional agility?