In 2020, the workplace continues to rapidly change. One of the key factors that leaders need to consider now is what role does empathy play in your leadership style.
96% of employees agree that showing empathy is a crucial way to advance employee retention, according to Forbes. But the same article found that while 92% of CEOs feel their organization is empathetic, only 50% of their employees say their CEO is empathetic.
Due to ongoing change within our work environment, the way your organization handles that disconnect will make or break your future. If you want to be a great leader, you need to practice empathy front and center in both your management strategy and your daily actions.
Here are 7 ways that increasing your empathy as a leader makes a difference in your workplace:
- Create Transparency In Your OrganizationEmpathetic leaders know that their team wants to understand who they work for. In turn, this encourages transparency on your leadership and, as a result, transparency from your team. Your core values are a vital tool to lead and need to be seen in the day-to-day operations of your organization.
Try implementing this by owning mistakes. If someone complains about the way management handles an issue, take a moment to reflect. Think about the situation from their perspective and share with your team what you’re doing to improve. (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 open and more engaged. This only leads to great things for your company (more on this below)! Empathetic leaders know that their teams need to be able to access them easily; if there’s a distance between leadership and direct reports, how can you understand their daily struggles with performance?
Even if that distance is only perceived, it’s going to have an impact on communication. One of the ways to help 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 empathize and communicate issues with each other.
- Increase Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is critical 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.
Leaders need to take a genuine interest in the working conditions and emotional wellbeing of their team members. The good news is that an empathetic leader will do wonders for the engagement of everyone on your team.
- Develop a Talent Attracting Workplace
Many businesses believe that perks like flexible scheduling, snacks in the office, or even bringing dogs into the workplace are what younger workers are looking for—read more on how quick fixes to company culture fail. While these can’t hurt, what workers want is a purpose to their own work and an ethical workplace.
Millennials currently make up much of the workforce, with more and more radical Gen Z workers joining the workforce every year. 86% of millennials would consider taking a pay cut to work at a company whose values and mission align with their own, according to CNBC.
If you want to attract and retain top talent, your organization needs to make empathy and diversity a priority right now. Be vocal about your company culture and professional beliefs, but make sure to highlight those beliefs in a genuine way, not attention-seeking.
- Help Your Team Maintain Their Work/Life Balance
Empathetic leaders understand that their employees aim to work to live, not live to work. More and more people are coming to striking realizations about their work lives; 60% of employees fault bad bosses for the most negative impact on work-life balance, according to LPCMA.
Tap into your own empathy to understand what’s driving your team. Are expectations reasonable for your most recent projects? Can a deadline ever be extended? Does your organization have access to the resources and support they need?
Truly understanding what your team needs to perform will create loyalty. By extending grace and not demanding off-the-clock commitments, your team gets to refresh, recharge, and return to work re-engaged.
- Get a Better Handle On Managing Crisis
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that businesses need to practice agility 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 of their organizations and lousy working conditions can’t thrive in the new climate. Empathetic leaders are going to pave the way in the modern world of work. Make sure you’re one of them!
Take Your Next Step to Empathetic Leadership
We know leaders, especially during this time, have a challenging role.
XQ Innovation helps organizations of all sizes get a deeper understanding of the people who your company depends on and creates a path for a better culture, better results, and long-term stability.
Are you looking to learn more? Do you want to become the empathetic leader your team needs? XQ Innovation can help. Contact us to learn more about how you can best utilize this process.