Why empathy works
Since the C A R E Principles were created as a human-centric philosophy, it is only logical that encouraging companies to think about how they can become more empathic is one of its pillars.
The pandemic has taught everybody that many employees will be working in a hybrid world with more choices about where, when, and how much they work.
So as remote work will become the norm for many employees, it means that managers will have to build different relationships with their staff. To remain a successful manager, it will help to lead with empathy. Why?
First, in an age where technology drives many processes and artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, the human side of work will matter more than ever. Our relationships with colleagues, clients, suppliers, and business partners will become a true differentiator.
Secondly, we all know how difficult it became to attract the best talent on the market and more importantly to hold onto that talent!
If you can truly:
– be able to see the world as others see it
– be non-judgmental
– understand another person’s feelings
– communicate your understanding of that person’s feelings, you will be a real empathic employer and this will pay off in the long run!
Finally, be aware that leading by empathy means you need to show vulnerability. An empathic boss might be considered weak. Despite a great deal of research proving that empathy matters, many managers try to keep empathy away from the work floor. It is often overlooked as a leadership value, perhaps because it’s seen as too soft or too nice. People equate empathy with niceness, although it is not the same thing at all!
There is no quick fix to inject empathy into your company. You can learn through coaching, workshops, books, or from a trusted role model, but it is like a muscle that needs to be trained constantly in order to perform at its best. What can help you bring more empathy to the way you do business? Being open to change, embracing that adaptive mindset, and showing resilience are all signs of empathy.
Understand, too, that empathy needs to be built over time. It is part of an ongoing structural change to your business model and organizational structure. Acknowledge that it is a process that will work tremendously well in some fields and keep on failing in others.
Empathy really starts internally but showing you understand your target group and truly demonstrating that you care for them will be a growth factor too. In an age in which understanding your customers and building relationships with them has become key to standing out, empathy should become your priority. People want brands to feel their challenges and understand their emotions. They want brands to show compassion and empathy for their fears and anxieties: fear of getting ill, fear of losing their jobs, fear of technology, fear of fake news. With the loss of trust in governments and media on reliability, people are turning to companies to help them. Most people believe that brands can be a powerful force for positive change.
Want to learn more about the role of empathy in business? Order my book here to read the full chapter on empathy!