3 Ways to be an Empathic Leader

Stitching of empathy

People have always needed empathetic leaders, especially now more than ever. However, many leaders overlook this soft skill or see it as a weakness. While we understand some leaders feel expressing empathy shows signs of weakness, we don’t agree when looking at the true nature behind genuine empathy in leadership. Empathy as a leadership skill allows you to build bonds of trust. It gives you insight into what others are feeling and thinking, and it helps you understand their reactions. At its core, empathy informs your decision making by sharpening your perceptions and intuition. Here are three ways to be an empathetic leader for your team.

Empathetic Leaders Lead with Flexibility

Currently, for many people, the lines between work, school, home, and general well-being are blurred. People are juggling their workload, helping their kids stay on track, and managing their health. Leaders need to recognize the additional stressors their teams are facing and lead with flexibility.

If your employees are working from home, leaders should allow, even encourage their team to block off bits of time on their calendars to assist their children, do some chores around the house, or do an activity that promotes personal wellness. If your employees work onsite, try to be as accommodating as possible if they need to come in late or leave early to take care of things outside of work that typically would not have been disrupted pre-COVID.

Your team will get the job done, right now just calls for some work to be completed outside an 8-5 schedule. Leaders need to help their team find balance in uncertainty – empathetic leaders already do.

Empathetic Leaders are Transparent

To build trust with your team, empathetic leaders are transparent. Leaders must be transparent about the upcoming challenges the business faces as it navigates through uncertain times, transparent on what is expected of their employees, and transparent about the direction the company is headed going forward. Employees want to know that the work they are doing matters, even in the midst of uncertainty.

Transparency builds trust more than anything else among employees, and when a team has trust in its leaders, they will remain focused on the company goals and productivity. When leaders can relate to their team with empathy, and rally around a shared mission and sense of purpose, we’ll come out on the other side stronger.

Empathetic Leaders are Human

Being a human leader means that you see your team as holistic individuals, not just as employees. Our colleagues are partners, parents, siblings, friends, and neighbors, and we should embrace that instead of ignoring it.

As obvious as it sounds, leaders who want to be empathetic, must first remember to be human. Leaders should take the time to check in with their employees – how are they doing physically and mentally? How are they balancing their workload? Go to a deeper level and ask them how their families are doing or what you can do to help them personally or professionally. Instead of asking these questions superficially, leaders should share their own answers with their team and be vulnerable.

Leading with Empathy

If leaders want to get more from their team, they must lead with empathy. Becoming an empathetic leader means letting your team see you as a human being first, allowing your team to have the flexibility to complete their work, and being transparent about what has passed and what’s to come. Being an empathetic leader is more than being “nice” or “making people happy.” It’s building a foundation of trust for your team, leading to more holistic and productive employees.

About EG Workforce Solutions

We’ve been in this business for decades and have developed a deep network of professional connections. Whether they’re companies looking for talent, job seekers looking for work, or an up-and-coming store in need of some temporary help, we know the right people to bridge the gap between the hiring and the hired.

But what’s more, we get to know people. From employers hiring to candidates looking, we take the time to listen and learn. We hear your likes, talents, and needs. We gain an understanding, and with it, we’re able to facilitate lasting relationships between businesses and people.

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