I am often asked what makes a company successful. For me, it’s simple: I’ve always believed that truly caring about the well-being of the team and investing in them as well as the company leads to business success. And this starts with your people.
What is empathetic leadership?
The basic definition of empathy is that, first, you can recognize, understand and feel other people’s emotions and, second, that you can respond appropriately to the thoughts and feelings of others. To me, empathetic leadership means that people feel listened to, they feel valued, they feel they belong to a team.
So if we can support our team to feel that way every day they come to work or do something for the company, then they become more connected to the goal, to the philosophy and objective and that’s how well-being increases.
The business case for leading with empathy
Empathy and business success are not mutually exclusive. As leaders and managers, we often underestimate the impact we have on people’s well-being, and the effect this has on the way they do their work. Truly extraordinary business results can be achieved by leading a culture focused on well-being.
Where to start?
If you own a business, the most important place to start us in yourself. Taking care of your needs is vital to being open to connecting with the needs of others. Leadership starts with yourself: lead by example. Get to know your people: Talk to your team about non-work issues, listen to what else they do, want, dream about and even entertain them.
Establishing this relationship means they will be more open and honest with you about what is going on in their lives. And in turn they will be more honest if something is going on that may be affecting performance.
Celebrate peer accomplishments with each other. Organize social events, as much as possible, within the global landscape. It is important to encourage employees to foster their connections with their environment. You don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to play the role of guide, counselor, boss, and therapist. Be supportive without demanding to solve everyone’s life. Meetings or conversations about the internal state of satisfaction. Many times we are exclusively focused on our clients, and we don’t look at our office to see what might be going wrong or where we can improve as a company towards our employees. If we can foster this sense of value and belonging, and continually work to improve the well-being of our teams through empathetic leadership, I am confident that business success will follow. And it doesn’t stop there. It has a ripple effect on the company, on customers and on our community.