When trying to improve leadership skills, managers often focus on delegation, communication and time management.
However, an important skill that every boss needs to possess in order not only to be respected, but liked, is empathy.
“Empathy is the ability to experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions, or experience of others,” according to one source.
While not all people are naturally empathetic, those skills can easily be developed with the following tips.
Focus On The Human Element
Employees don’t want to be seen and treated as mere workers, they want to work for a person who realises that they are people with their own thoughts, emotions and feelings.
While leaders need to remain professional and goal-driven, they also need to remember that those who work for them have personal obligations, families and other priorities that may sometimes interfere with work.
To remind yourself to be empathetic if it doesn’t come naturally to you, focus on what makes your employees human.
Learn about their interests, hobbies and passions; inquire about their family members and try to spend some time with them outside of work.
All of this can not only build a better connection between you and the people that work for you, but will show to your staff that you are invested in their success and happiness.
Want to figure out how to be empathetic towards your team members?
The easiest way to understand what they may need from you is to simply listen to them.
When you take the time to stop and hear what your employees are saying, you will learn if they are going through a hard time, need a helping hand or simply an ear to listen to them.
Watch out for your workers mentioning that a child is sick, their spouse has lost their job, they feel stressed out or are overwhelmed by their workload.
This is the perfect opportunity to use your emotional intelligence to help your employee with some time off, mentorship or friendship.
Take Two Minutes
Oftentimes, we can improve our empathetic skills by simply giving ourselves a few minutes to think about the right action in a certain situation.
When we are stressed, mad or overwhelmed, our anger tends to take over and our response can come out angry or not the way we intended.
Learn how to hold your tongue and give yourself two minutes to think about the best way to address a scenario in the most empathetic way.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 11 July, 2017
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