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Lead with Empathy
Empathy is a major buzzword for leaders these days. Employees are demanding to be viewed as human beings, not just workers, so empathy is a mandate.
Demonstrating empathy as a leader can be difficult because the world of work is so often about objectives—goals, deadlines, profitability, financials, etc. Plus, there aren’t many empathy courses out there that don’t feel squishy and too emotional.
To make empathy accessible to more leaders, here are 4 tangible ways that it can be expressed.
- Be present. It is important to fully listen and seek to understand your team member’s perspective, even if difficult or you don’t agree. Ask questions to ensure that you have ascertained the full perspective of the other person.
- Refrain from judgment. Judgment often prevents you from being fully present because you may quickly be arguing or refuting the other’s perspective in your head. Quiet the noise so you can fully engage.
- Engage an open mind. Just because a situation may not apply to you, it can be very real for your team member. Let yourself explore their perspective with an open mind and try to sincerely put yourself in their shoes.
- Be comfortable with feelings. Emotions are allowed in the workplace—theirs and yours. Give time and space to let your team member, as well as yourself, work through an emotional situation and avoid escalating as much as possible. We are all human beings so we have to accept the fact that emotions come with the package.
As you engage with team members in the new year, deploy these 4 techniques regularly and watch the connections with your team members soar.