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To retain the best and brightest, leaders and managers need to re-engage their employees consistently.
Empathy is an Emotionally Intelligent (EI) behavior that can fast-track employee engagement and productivity by understanding employees’ feelings and needs in order to drive a better workplace experience. Empathy isn’t one-size-fits-all and showing empathy is not easy for all, but employees agree that they would work harder or even take a pay cut if they had an empathetic boss.
It is your managers’ job to create an empathetic environment where everyone feels valued and listened to at work. If you want to raise levels of emotional intelligence, share my 4 tips with your managers to help them show more empathy for their teams:
- Communicate, listen, and ask questions. Listen carefully to employees and make sure you understand what’s being said. When people feel listened to, they become more receptive to you and your message. Stop assuming that you know what people are thinking and feeling — you probably don’t. There’s always more to learn if you’re quiet and curious and engage in effective two-way communication.
- Be Present. Stop multitasking. If you’re checking email while talking with an employee, they are not getting the best of you. Put your phone down or turn away from your computer and give your full attention to the person in front of you. Really observe and look for signs as to how they are feeling. What is their facial expression telling you? What about the words they use? What does that tell you about their real views? Empathizing with other people can help them empathize with you in return, and this can lay the foundation for building a lasting relationship.
- Don’t give in to distractions. There’s always a deadline looming, a customer concern to deal with, or task to be completed, but it’s important to slow down and take a step back from all your activities and reflect on your management style. Practice reflection time and consider who needs additional support, who needs a special thank you, who needs other resources to get their jobs done well. Take time for yourself and encourage your employees to do the same.
- Wear their moccasins. Try visualizing your team member’s perspective. Think about the important moments in their decision-making process — especially the emotionally charged ones. Imagine how they might feel about delivering on a tough objective, and consider how you can address their concerns.
Understanding people’s wants and needs is essential to winning them over, but not every manager knows how to do so. In our Raising Emotional Intelligence Program, we delve into the tools needed to display better cognitive and emotional empathy. Your managers will be able to start using the skills immediately in their day-to-day interactions. According to the 2017 BusinessSolver Workplace Empathy Monitor, almost 80% of employees would be willing to work longer hours for an employer they perceive as empathetic. Let’s talk about how we can support your organizational culture by building more empathetic leaders.
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