In the same way that you remember a product, not by the content but by the emotion that the experience generates, a leader is remembered not by how many degrees or diplomas they have, but by the emotion that each communication, decision, and interaction inspire.
If we look at the current post-pandemic market, we notice that there is great uncertainty about what to do to retain talent and where to start to rebuild our organizational culture in the face of such a changing environment. So many external factors in today’s environment allow little room for future planning. But if we see clearly why leaders keep their teams intact or what strategies they did before, during, and post-pandemic, we will find a common point─ an empathetic leadership.
“The result of having leaders, who work on empathy as an emotional strategy, is that their teams feel inspired to achieve common goals, even in times of uncertainty“
But how do you develop the skill of empathy and how do you differentiate the results of a team where there is an empathetic leader?
1. Empathy in leaders begins with a process of self-knowledge, so providing them with spaces, tools, or mentoring on how to identify their own judgments is essential for them to connect honestly with the situation that a team member wants to share, and not to listen from their own paradigms.
2. 1:1 meetings scheduled every week or 15 days is the best way to create the spaces where trust is built by making them feel they are the most important thing on the agenda. Sessions may have a list of business topics, but always spend a few minutes at the beginning to find out what's new in their lives and how they feel. On occasion, employees have even expressed that these moments are the only times they feel they are really being heard by someone. So imagine how important this hour can be for your people.
3. Active listening skills are perhaps a recurring theme but in an era with so many technological distractions, where everything seems urgent, one can easily get lost in paying more attention to a notification on the mobile than to a crucial situation for a collaborator.
4. A growth question at the right moment is a different way to build a feedback session, so when you or your team faces a problem, start asking, how does this situation make you feel? I understand this is a difficult topic but, is there anything that makes you feel more worried about? And together begin to build solutions, alternatives, situation analysis, support needs, priorities, and even crazy ideas for future situations, and then move forward to next steps to execute.
The result of having leaders, who work on empathy as an emotional strategy, is that their teams feel inspired to achieve common goals, even in times of uncertainty. The employees feel included in the team and then the feeling of belonging reduces anxiety and depression that could limit their focus and productivity. They can connect with another human being, who is not only their boss, but is someone who can also be vulnerable, who makes mistakes but effectively does not repeat them, if they share it with the team, and together learn from them.
So work on the leadership team and analyze what emotion you want your team to feel when interacting with them; it is an excellent way to start a talent retention plan and certainly an invaluable asset of an attractive culture for the next generations.