Most people do not consider empathy as a vital quality for effective leadership. Leaders are typically expected to be tough, controlling, and diligent visionaries who set employ their force of personality to chat firm course for the organization, and lead people through that path, right?
Maybe the “command and control” tactic was an effective leadership model in the past, but not so much today.
Modern-day leaders need to adopt a slightly different approach if their goal is to inspire and engage members of their team. While you still need skills that can help you direct members of your team through a course, you would need empathy if you want to engage them in your goals and achievements. In fact, some organizations rate empathy so highly that they send managers to undergo “empathy training”.
Here are some reasons that make empathy the number one skill in modern-day leadership:
Yields Staff Loyalty
Retaining talented staff is a significant struggle that many organizations are faced with. One of the most common reasons for employees leaving a company is lack of appreciation and trust from their superiors. Empathy introduces a feeling of trust among members of your staff, giving them a sense of value and care. As humans, we are likely to stay and feel comfortable – in our personal relationships or as a part of an organization – if we feel like our voice is heard and we are appreciated.
Engages Members of Staff
Have you noticed that you feel the urge to do more for a person that tells you how much they appreciate you? In the work environment, employees feel the need to reciprocate care and put in more effort when leaders demonstrate care and appreciation towards the. Unfortunately, many organizations miss out on this basic yet very vital point when it comes to leadership and employee engagement. Leaders in successful organizations continuously lookout for ways to notice, commend, encourage, and appreciate their staff.
Encourages Team Work
Employees that feel cared for and valued are not only happy to put more effort into their work but are happy to do the same for their fellow employees. When leaders in the organization demonstrate empathy, this attribute is passed down throughout the company, encouraging increased teamwork, reduced staff conflicts, and increased workplace harmony. This teamwork and collaboration will lead to increased productivity and coordinated effort in the workplace.
Satisfaction is automatic in a work environment where the staff feel heard, appreciated and valued. Increased level of satisfaction will mean increased motivation to work. Staff who do not feel committed to the company will have less and less reasons to come to work. Over time, absenteeism in the workplace can result in resentment among staff, and decrease their morale.
Empathy makes staff feel like a real part of the organization. This, in turn, makes them happy to risk more to ensure they can add value to the organization. They are more likely to invest their energy and time to come up with new ideas and techniques that can make the organization move forward. Their commitment to the organization’s success makes them feel like their personal success, and that of the organization are interrelated; this boosts their quest to seek more efficient ways to add value to the organization.
Empathy is not a weakness. It does not mean that you have to agree with everyone’s perspective. It only means that you are happy to listen, understand the needs of others, and appreciate their efforts. In a fast-moving world that is ours today, building deeper connections with others by demonstrating empathy is key to achieving set goals. It is a sign of a modern leader.
Originally posted on September 20, 2019 on LinkedIn