The best time to show genuine empathy and compassion to your team members is right now. At this moment your team is juggling new responsibilities, facing a wide array of fears and a range of new challenges. What employees need to see, hear and believe most during these uncertain and rapidly changing times are leaders who truly understand their circumstances and concerns, who are there for them, who will back them up and who will guide them through these times. They need to feel genuine empathy and compassion.
The Your Voice (Gallup) results remind us that people want to feel that their voices are heard and that their leaders care about them. Gallup calls this the “individualised, human-first approach”. Though it may feel wrong or impossible to manage this way during times of crisis the opposite is true. During challenging times, when people are more uncertain and anxious, they need this individualised care and empathy more than ever. According to Gallup, employees need empathy and compassion when they feel most vulnerable, or they may disengage from their work and withdraw from interacting with their managers and teams. Leading with a command-and-control style limits empowerment and trust and is likely to reduce performance.
Reflect for a moment on how you can show more empathy and compassion.
• Ask people how they are doing and truly listen to their response.
• Show your interest - stop what you are busy with, turn your full body towards the person, look them in the eyes and respond to their question.
• Demonstrate empathy by reflecting any emotions that they reveal and assure them that their feelings are valid.
• Try leading with compassion and ask these questions during your next one-on-one:
o How are you doing? How is the current situation affecting you?
o What is going well right now?
o What are your real challenges right now?
o How are you tackling these challenges? How is it going?
o What do you need from me right now?
Click here to watch Dr Brene Brown, research professor and best-selling author, explain how we can create genuine empathic connections with our team members.