Let me start with a question. What do you think are the top three important traits of a good or even great leader?
Traits that are likely to come to mind include being a visionary, having strong communication skills, being a good delegator, having integrity, being influential, among many others.
Empathy, interestingly, rarely makes it on the list. And yet, recent studies have shown it is one of the most important, if not most critical skills for leaders to possess.
In the wake of the past two years of never-ending crisis, empathy – the ability to connect with others, identify and understand their perspectives – has taken on a new level of significance in the workplace of today.
Need to brush up on cultivating and developing empathy as a leader? Don’t forget to take notes as we dish out some useful tips.
5 Tips to Cultivate Empathy as a Leader
True empathy comes from the heart- it cannot be faked nor forced, so don’t even try.
Take the first step by showing sincere interest in your team members – be it their life circumstances, perspectives, and ambitions. You don’t have to be interested in everything (that’s just not possible), but make sure to hear them out whenever they seek an audience.
Trust us when we say that this effort will not go unnoticed. Before you know it, you will have built up a meaningful foundation with your team and an open line of communication.
Acknowledge and Embrace Different Perspectives
In a large and diverse workplace, it is inevitable for different perspectives. As such it is equally important for leaders to acknowledge and embrace these differences to ensure that everyone that they have a voice.
Actively seeking out differing opinions is not only great for engaging your stakeholders, but also provides invaluable business insights that leadership and management may not be privy to!
So, make sure to encourage formal and informal platforms for your employees to engage in open discussion.
Finding it hard to be compassionate? Try putting yourself in your employee’s shoes for a minute.
Put your assumptions to one side and reach out directly to learn how they are feeling about certain policies, programs, or even their day-to-day work.
While you may not always be able to relate, your employees will appreciate the listening ear and support from you.
Over time, you will hopefully start to develop an incredibly strong awareness of the people around you and be attuned to the sentiments of the workforce.
Look Out for Signs of Burnout
Work burnout is a serious problem that affects morale and productivity if left to fester.
One practical way is to have regular check-ins with your team to keep yourself updated on their workload and get a sense of how they are coping.
This way if you spot any tell-tale signs, you can provide the necessary support to help them through the rough patch.
Implement People Analytics
Apart from one-to-one check-ins, people analytics are the next best thing to help gather on-the-ground feedback about how everyone is feeling.
Consider conducting anonymous quarterly employee engagement surveys company-wide to help gain insight into how the different teams and members are doing. Regular surveys will also provide you with valuable data points to see if any initiatives put in place have helped to move the needle on improving workplace engagement and happiness.
Looking to Cultivate Empathetic Leaders in Your Workplace?
Empathy is an underrated but essential skill for leaders in the modern workforce. As HR leaders, you know this is a key focus area for 2022, so what’s stopping you?
Need help to offload your administrative HR matters so you can focus on strategic initiatives like this to elevate your workforce of the future? Consider it done. As the preferred HR partner of companies worldwide, TG is here to help.
Contact us to learn how we can help support your business needs today!