Empathy has always been regarded as an essential character trait for leaders, but its become even more fundamental in today’s workplace. While some view empathy as a soft approach to leadership, others understand its influence on business success.
We’ve always known empathy creates a better workplace for employees. In the midst of the recent mental health crisis, empathetic leadership has become the necessary solution to positive employee well-being. 67% of employees have become increasingly stressed, while 57% deal with higher levels of anxiety and depression. Leaders who can tap into and understand what others are feeling, and use that to inspire actionable steps to enhance culture, have teams that are happier and more engaged. A recent study has shown that this results in even more significant advantages, like: higher performance, increased collaboration, reduced turnover, greater innovation, and better customer service.
Let’s dive deeper into this.
How Empathy Contributes to Better Business Outcomes
As employees try to stay afloat while they navigate uncertain times, struggle to find meaning in work, and try to ward off burnout, empathy acts as a life preserver. It’s a powerful catalyst for a better company culture, which is necessary for the growth and success of a business.
Innovation Drives Competitive Advantage
When employees feel encouraged to take risks and explore their creative liberties without fear of discipline or humiliation, their innovativeness should be obvious. 61% of employees in a recent study reported feeling more innovative because their company’s leadership was more empathetic. Business leaders should provide employees with a safe space to explore new ideas and the freedom to bring their unique experiences to the table. This is how you maintain a competitive advantage in your industry.
Keep Your Top Talent
Employees will no longer tolerate difficult leaders and substandard working conditions. Business leaders who show their employees respect and value will have lower turnover rates than other companies. Consistently losing employees won’t only cost you time and money, but it could also tarnish your reputation in the industry as well.
Accessible Work-Life Balance
A lot of business leaders brag about their focus on work-life balance, but very few of them build their cultures around that promise. Empathetic leaders understand that work-life balance is critical to helping employees fight off burnout, anxiety, and depression. It’s important to make key initiatives like flexibility and increased PTO part of your culture to help employees achieve better work-life balance. This won’t only protect their well-being, but it will also give them adequate time to relax so they can come to work the next day with more energy and vigor.
To lead with empathy, business leaders must consider their employees’ thoughts and feelings and also listen to employee feedback after they express their own concerns and inquiries. Empathy isn’t a shiny new skill, but it’s one more people should start developing for the benefit of their teams and organizations.