There are many skills that executives and managers are asked to build to support their staff and drive results, and empathy may be one of the most important of all.
Recent research has shown that empathy can have a significant impact on our people and businesses. In addition to being good for the Social part of our brains, it has also been revealed to have a positive effect on employee engagement, inclusivity, innovation and retention. When you consider the financial implications as well as the impacts each of these factors have on long-term organizational success, it’s clear that compassion is an essential element in the workplace.
So, what does it look like in action? If you or your fellow managers and executives are using the practices below, you may already be on your way to incorporating this trait into your leadership style.
7 Signs of Empathetic Leadership
#1 – You understand the viewpoints of others.
This practice is called cognitive empathy, which aligns with perspective taking. While you may not have an emotional connection to the subject matter or situation discussed, you are able to recognize the way someone else is taking in information and understand how they feel.
#2 – You show compassion.
In addition to unpacking the perspectives, interests and emotions of others, you react in a way that demonstrates care. That could be through words of encouragement or support, or an action you take to assist staff who need a hand.
#3 – You can listen while suspending judgment.
To truly appreciate how others are feeling about or interpreting a situation, it’s essential to be able to listen and be curious rather than jump to conclusions or make assumptions. By suspending judgment, you open yourself up to other perspectives and inputs.
#4 – You celebrate your team’s success.
Empathetic individuals care about their employees, so they make time to celebrate their accomplishments and give them positive recognition. By providing feedback, your coworkers can improve, and you can help them achieve the next steps in their careers.
#5 – You take an interest in people as people.
While workplace performance is important, there is also value in getting to know your staff on a personal level. You can honor this practice by simply asking questions about your colleagues’ lives outside of work, valuing time off or promoting wellness initiatives.
#6 – You keep two-way communication open.
Leaders who are attuned to the needs of others recognize that multiple perspectives lead to better ideas and results. That’s why, it’s essential to keep lines of communication open so that employees can share input as well as receive it.
#7 – You are willing to pitch in.
No matter your role or title, life happens. That means there will be times when staff members are in over their heads, or they need to attend to their personal lives. When those moments arise, caring leaders are willing to step in and help.
5 Daily Habits to Build Empathy
If you think you have an opportunity to strengthen your understanding of your team members, try incorporating these behaviors into your day-to-day actions to get started.
#1 – Check in with your employees.
Making time to connect can help your people feel heard and give them a chance to share any obstacles that they may need your support with. The check-in doesn’t need to be long. Simply sending a note via chat or email to ask your direct reports how they are doing and if they need a hand or a listening ear can be a great start.
#2 – Ask for others’ ideas.
When you’re working on a project or making a decision, take a moment to pause and seek input from one of your team members. This action can have multiple benefits. For you, it provides an opportunity to discover different perspectives and improve on your work. For your coworkers, it’s a chance to contribute and potentially learn something new.
#3 – Encourage self-care.
Self-care is vital to our wellbeing as individuals and as employees. We cannot do great work if we don’t take care of ourselves. By encouraging and modeling self-care practices – whether that’s through breathing exercises, mindfulness or encouraging work-life integration – you can show staff you appreciate them and support everyone partaking in healthier routines.
#4 – Assume positive intent.
When you make a commitment to believe that information, feedback or comments – no matter their source – are backed with good intentions, it is much easier to promote understanding and practice compassion. Assuming positive intent helps to limit judgment so that you ask questions, seek clarity and embrace other perspectives.
#5 – Use your team’s Emergenetics® Profiles.
Your employees’ Profiles offer insights into the ways they prefer to think and behave. Taking time to understand their preferences can enhance cognitive empathy. By using their Profiles to adjust how you communicate and manage staff, you can also be more attentive to their interests and needs. Don’t forget – the Emergenetics+ app can give you specific recommendations to tailor your approach.
Empathy can have a powerful impact on your leadership and your team’s results. By understanding where your employees are coming from and adapting your style to compassionately support their interests and needs, you can enhance motivation, engagement and performance.
Learn more about how you can improve your leadership with Emergenetics or fill out the form below to speak with one of our staff members today!Print This Post