As a leader, bringing empathy into the workplace during a crisis can be a game changer for you and your team. A time of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, gives us the opportunity to show empathy in the workplace that may never have existed before. When your team knows you care and are in it with them, they will go to the mat for you.
So, what is the best way to show empathy in the workplace? Well, there are a number of them, and we’ve been discussing them over the past few posts, but one of the most important ways is to be a leader with authentic positivity as your guiding light. In these uncertain times, it is much too easy to fall into negative thinking, but we need to fight that at every opportunity. Look for the blessings—yes, even the blessings brought about by the pandemic! Share the silver linings you see with those you lead and ask them to do the same. When we live in a place of gratitude, everything looks brighter. Your team desperately needs this from you, especially now.
Best-selling author and leadership expert, Michael Hyatt, has an fantastic attitude about turning around disappointments. When things don’t go as planned, he asks his team, “What does this challenge make possible?” Now, that puts an entirely new spin on things, doesn’t it? What a great way to look at the situation we are dealing with right now. Undoubtedly, challenges have and will arise during this pandemic. What would it be like if you asked your team “What does this challenge make possible?”, and then honestly and openly listen to what they have to say. Just the fact that you’re hopeful and listening is an excellent way to show empathy in the workplace.
Listen to your team and be authentically positive. It is vital that you carefully listen and acknowledge how people are feeling and what they are going through. Don’t just brush their feelings aside, but authentically acknowledge them. At the same time, to bring hope to your team, it is up to you to lead them with positivity. Encourage your team to make, and if they’re comfortable share, a daily or weekly gratitude list. You know how good it feels to hear one employee express gratitude by recognizing and thanking a teammate for his or her help. Encouraging gratitude will help turn attitudes around. It is up to you to help shape a better outlook and guide your team through difficult times.
One actionable tip: begin every team meeting with individual wins. This will help your employees start to see what is actually going well. By sharing their wins, they will also encourage others.
Several of you have reached out to me to share your experiences with implementing a strategy for empathy in your workplace. The conversations have been wonderful! I’m so grateful for you and the discussions that are coming about thanks to these posts on empathy. I’d love to chat with you to see how you’re leading your team through these stressful times, so let’s connect! Until next time, be well and take care.