Before 2020, empathy and leadership weren’t two words you would automatically relate with one another. Leaders were supposed to be motivating, diligent, organized, and attentive, but empathetic wasn’t at the top of anyone’s required soft skill set.
It’s a different world now.
Since the pandemic, the workplace has morphed into a different place. In addition to the soft skills we mentioned above, leaders must be empathetic and aware of others’ thoughts and feelings. Here are 3 of the biggest reasons why there’s no better time for empathetic leadership.
The Great Resignation
Millions of people in the workforce have decided, for one reason or another, they can find something better to do than their current jobs. Could empathetic leaders change their minds? Probably
Relating empathetically helps leaders (and everyone) walk a mile in the other person’s shoes. By understanding their unique challenges and struggles, leaders can help them get through them. Understanding what drives a person is integral in being able to connect with them and motivate them to get excited about their work. Empathetic leadership can be the catalyst that makes people feel valued enough to not worry about the grass being greener somewhere else.
Mental Health Illnesses
Since the pandemic, many working people have struggled with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. The attitude of “buck up, buttercup” isn’t going to cut it in this environment.
Showing these employees some empathy can proactively head off burnout and heavy stress that can spiral into or trigger mental health issues. Knowing how to read your team members so as not to push them too hard shows them work is a safe space where they can focus and thrive. Since leaders set the tone for the workplace, an empathetic leadership style fosters this behavior from the top down.
People are worried about paying their bills, which is a source of great stress for many. Empathetic leaders who practice active listening can use this time to strengthen their relationships with their team members and hopefully help them through this difficult patch. A word of validation and encouragement may be what they need to renew themselves.
We believe that empathetic leadership is the best leadership style, especially in today’s workplace. By showcasing empathy as a soft skill, leaders can create a happy, loyal, productive team amid a caring, nurturing company culture.