5 (I mean 6) Ways to Increase your Leadership Care and Connection through Empathy

by | 1 Jul 2022

“If you attend to the emotional nature of the folks you’re working with, they’re much more likely to attend to the nature of the work.” Doug Conant   

There’s a lot of chatter going on about workforce planning at the moment.  About attracting, recruiting, and retaining staff.  But, it’s not all about them, the staff (or lack of).  Now, more than ever, you must forge a connection with those we work with, and especially your staff.  Here’s 5 ways to get you started.

  1. Rethink what Empathy is.  Take on board that Empathy is a leadership skill that can be learned.  Read articles, seek out training and genuinely put ‘learning’ empathy on your leadership development plan for this year.
  2. Lead by Listening.  Listen deeply and amplify shared understanding and people will instantly feel connected  Ask others to share more about what’s going on and then share some more.  Don’t jump in to ‘fix’.
  3. Tune in to the Emotions of Others.  Check-in with people. Ask them how they are going, if they need anything or if there’s anything you can do to support them.  Ensure you follow up as it’s the care that cements connection.
  4. Ask – Don’t Assume.  Learn new ways of asking questions – verbal and non-verbal.  Try this.  A staff member comes to you and has a conversation about a looming deadline.  Ask a question like, “what do you need right now?” And see how it works.  Not sold on this one?  Well, it’s better than not asking!  Ensure you take action, even if it’s the first step and is very small after the conversation.  
  5. Show Up.  Given the lack of connection due to the pandemic, it’s so so so important for you to show up for your staff and teams right now.  It’s important that people feel that you care and have their back.  Their productivity will skyrocket.          
  6. Sit with Discomfort.  Yep, we’re going more than 5 today.  Leading others is not always comfortable!  

Questions for you

  1. How’s your understanding of empathy? How do you practise this with those around you?
  2. How do you know if people are listening to you? How do you check in that people have understood what you’ve asked?
  3. Do you think it’s important to monitor people’s emotions in the workplace? If so, how do you do this?
  4. Use the question “what do you need right now?” and see how it opens up the conversation.
  5. How do you currently show up for your staff / team? What other ways could you show up for them?

Over to you.  Give one of these a go over the next fortnight and feel the benefit for yourself and those you work with.  People often leave workplaces and managers citing a toxic culture.  Let’s do more by creating a culture of connection so that staff never want to leave and introduce others to your workplace because it’s a great place to work.

We include short, practical and helpful articles, just like this one in our fortnightly E-News called 5 Ways to Lead with Heart. Click here to subscribe to this Newsletter.

I hope to hear from you soon.

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About the Author

Jo Eady

Jo Eady

I’m a leadership specialist, a human centred facilitator and a modern day storyteller. I live in Victoria, Australia. For the past two decades I’ve developed and facilitated a range of leadership initiatives, strategies and programs and have coached many across Australia’s agricultural and rural sectors. I love being a change agent and my key motto right now is courage over comfort. I support others to develop their own leadership essence and shine from the inside out.