Leaders vary in their leadership styles. Some believe that it is better to be feared than loved when it comes to corporate leadership styles. Managers and business leaders often have a self-assured, overly confident image that subordinates have to follow. However, conventional wisdom rebukes this mentality regarding corporate leadership style.
New leadership styles emerge, especially because of the rise of the millennial and Generation Z workforces. Empathy and compassion are now the hallmarks of successful leadership styles. Relational leadership becomes more effective than the positional style of leadership.
Empathy and Compassion Matters
Because of the pandemic, it has been reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the unemployment rate has increased to up to 3.8% as of February 2022. More than two years into the pandemic, many employees have struggled significantly with a healthy work-life balance. Because of the remote work setup, many employees need to perform their tasks while coping with their family life. On top of that is the health crisis because of the pandemic.
With all this emotional distress and uncertainty, employer empathy is not just a request but rather a necessity. Now that things are slowly going back to normal, employees expect to receive still the same empathy and understanding they received during the pandemic. If such empathy is not received, switching jobs and career paths is no longer out of the question. This is probably one of the reasons why there’s what we call the great resignation, where people leave their jobs or switch to another career right after the pandemic. Despite the challenges, remote work has become beneficial for most employees, primarily since they work on a more flexible schedule, giving them more time to build relationships with their families. With this kind of experience fresh in employees’ minds, it is beneficial for the company that compassion becomes one of its guiding principles.
Aside from employee retention, leading with empathy and compassion creates a healthy working environment that employees love. Creating a happier and healthier workforce can result in more productivity which is beneficial for the company.
How to Implement Empathetic and Compassionate Leadership
Integrating empathy and compassion into the workplace is intentional for the leader. Relational leadership can be a foreign concept at first; however, it can be learned. Leaders have to go out of their way to lead with thoughtfulness and care. It takes intentionality, as well as mindfulness, to achieve an empathetic and compassionate style of leadership. Mindfulness is being observant not just to oneself but also to the people around them. It is looking beyond the employee’s performance and seeing the several issues that the employee must be dealing with which directly affects their work performance.
Considering factors outside of work allows the employer to create decisions to help the employee become productive, rather than simply assuming laziness or disinterest on the part of the employee.
Aside from mindfulness, active listening is a great way to show empathy and compassion to your employees. Make yourself a safe space for the employees to talk about what’s on their minds, whether work-related concerns, ideas, or personal problems. Be gracious with your praises, as well as feedback. Create an environment where employees are heard.
As a leader, you mustn’t recognize just the importance of relational leadership. People will not care unless they know that you care. Employees will not care about their work performance unless they know that you care about them. Empathy and compassion are the keys to employee longevity and productivity.