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Lead and Manage with Empathy

As a leader connecting and leading people with empathy is important, both in person and remotely. Acknowledge and empathise with their professional and personal circumstances to build safety and trust. Demonstrate that you are fully present, available and approachable to your team.

"Empathy—the ability to recognize and share other people's feelings—is the most important instrument in a leader's toolbox. The daily practice of putting the well-being of others first has a compounding and reciprocal effect in relationships, in friendships, in the way we treat our clients and our colleagues" (Simon Sinek, 2017).

Empathy is being concerned about the person, not just their output.  

Empathy creates connection.

The quality of the relationships in teams is based on the quality of connection.

When you ask someone how they're doing, do you actually care?

As leaders, it is more important that we stand in each other’s shoes – 'seek first to understand'; and demonstrate that we have each other's back.

Practical empathy considerations:

  • Ask questions and avoid assumptions. Ask people what they need and agree practical boundaries.  This can be on an individual basis.  Be clear on what is acceptable and what is not.
  • Set people up for success. Be realistic in your expectations for yourself and the team.
  • Recognise that we are all learning a new way of working and that most of us have some challenge adapting. Some of us may have competence or confidence gaps.  These need to be understood and supports put in place to address them.
  • Many of us are reporting that hours of screen time are more tiring than face to face meetings as we adapt.  Ensure you lead by following the guidelines for virtual meetings to support your team's wellbeing. 
  • Make it safe to share by being open to sharing your challenges
  • Check in with your team members individually and as a team regularly
  • Be kind to yourself and others