We all know the workplace is changing in 2020. One of the most important factors that leaders need to consider now is the role empathy plays in their leadership style and on their team.
If you want to be a good leader, you need to exhibit empathy front and center in both your daily actions and your people strategy. 96% of employees believe showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention, according to Forbes. But the same article says that while 92% of CEOs feel their organization is empathetic, only 50% of their employees say their CEO is empathetic.
The way your organization handles that disconnect will make or break your future. Here are a few of the ways that increasing your empathy as a leader makes a difference in your workplace.
Create Transparency in Your Organization
Empathetic leaders understand that their team wants to know who they work for. In turn, this encourages transparency on your leadership and, as a result, transparency from your team. Your core values are important and need to be lived out in the day-to-day operations of your organization.
Try implementing this by owning mistakes. If someone complains about the way leadership handles an issue, take a moment to reflect. Think about the situation from their perspective, and share with the team what you’re doing to correct. (Make sure you’re not singling out the individual who gave you the feedback when you do this!)
Cultivate Better Communication
When employees feel understood, they become more engaged and more open. This only leads to good things for your company (more on this soon)! Empathetic leaders know that their teams need to be able to access them; if there’s a distance between leadership and direct reports, how can they really understand their struggles and needs?
Even if that distance is only perceived, it’s going to have an impact on communication. One of the ways to bridge that gap is to use behavioral assessments with your entire team. These assessments help individuals understand themselves and others better, while also giving your team a shared language to communicate issues and empathize with each other.
Increase Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is crucial for the future of your organization. Did you know that employee disengagement translates to a profit loss of 34% of the disengaged employee's annual salary? Can you afford that loss? Almost certainly not.
The good news is that an empathetic leader will do wonders for the engagement of everyone on your team. Leaders need to take a genuine interest in the working conditions and emotional wellbeing of their team members.
Develop a Talent Attracting Workplace
Many businesses believe that perks like flexible scheduling, snacks in the office, or even bringing pets into the workplace are what younger workers are looking for. While these can’t hurt, what workers really want is an ethical workplace and a purpose to their own work.
86% of millennials would consider taking a pay cut to work at a company whose mission and values align with their own, according to CNBC. Millennials currently make up the majority of the workforce, with more and more radical Gen Z workers joining the workforce every year. (Learn more about the differences between each generation in our infographic.)
If you want to attract and retain top talent, your organization needs to make diversity and empathy a priority now. Be vocal about your beliefs and company culture, but make sure to highlight those beliefs in a way that is genuine, not attention-seeking, or flashy.
Help Your Team Maintain Their Work/Life Balance
Empathetic leaders understand that their employees want to work to live, not live to work. More and more people are coming to startling realizations about their work lives; 60 percent of employees blame bad bosses for the most negative impact on work-life balance, according to PCMA.
Tap into your empathy to understand what’s really important for your team. Can a deadline be extended? Are expectations reasonable for your most recent projects? Does your team have access to resources and support?
By extending grace and not demanding off-the-clock commitments, their team gets to recharge, refresh, and return to work re-engaged. Truly understanding what your team needs will create loyalty.
Get a Better Handle On Managing Crisis
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that businesses need to remain agile and take care of their people. There are going to be winners and losers coming out of this year, and it’s becoming clear who is who as time progresses.
Companies that ignore the human element, social injustices, and bad working conditions can’t thrive in the new climate. Empathetic leaders will pave the way in the new world of work. Make sure you’re one of them!
Take Your Next Step to Empathetic Leadership
Are you looking to learn more? Do you want to become the empathetic leader your team needs? TTI Success Insights can help.
If you’re already a member of our network, connect with your Business Development Consultant to learn about becoming certified in EQ.
If you’re interested in joining the network, join us for a free webinar here with all the info you need to know.
Don’t wait to start developing yourself into the kind of leader who will lead the future of work!