Empathic Leadership

Posted by on Nov 1, 2008 in Success!Ezine For You



E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2008

During these tumultuous economic times, everyone is feeling stressed in one way or the other. But as a leader, it’s important to be keenly aware of what your employees are going through. Your company is probably asking them to do more with less, and your most conscientious staffers are likely kicking in a lot of extra time and money in some form to pick up the slack. But since their resources are apt to be more strained than yours, try to lighten the burden where you can and show sufficient appreciation for their dedication. You’ll garner greater loyalty and go far to retain your best employees if you do.

  • Display Acts of Kindness

When staff are struggling monetarily, they especially appreciate little gestures that show you understand. Though you may be feeling financially pinched too, try to squeeze out a few bucks to spring for lunch or some healthy snacks as a surprise to boost morale. Yes, it is true that the company should be doing this but, as far as your employees are concerned – you are the company. Stop by to ask how folks are doing, how their families are. You may not think of this gesture as a big deal, but often it’s experienced as quite an indication of your interest in the employee as a person, and that’s viewed as a big deal indeed. And ask your business partners to “adopt” your staff and donate gift cards, advertising specialties, or other goodies that you can pass out as treats. These don’t have to be big ticket items, but sometimes they shave a few cents off the expenses your employees are shouldering. Or they simply show that you care enough about them to try to put a smile on their faces.

  • Be Flexible with Time

Often time is viewed as more valuable to your employees than money. Allow schedule modifications where possible so that people can attend to urgent business or taxing life circumstances. Or, it may just be a special occasion. These days, it’s common for younger generations to be concerned about work-life balance. They appreciate opportunities to arrive late or leave early to join in family activities, or often they just want to enjoy something of interest of their own from time to time. Also explore flexible work schedules and telecommuting. You may find many more people interested in taking advantage of this on a permanent basis than you realized. While these options may not suit all types of businesses, try to consider what is possible rather than concluding that it’s out of the question.

  • Promote Your People

You may not be able to offer actual promotions or pay raises within your organization, but you can help advance the careers of your people in other ways. Look for opportunities that enable them to showcase their talents and make these available. Nominate them for awards or to participate in prestigious community service roles. You are much more well connected than they are and your advocacy can open doors that they could not dream of entering on their own. This goes a long way when employees are otherwise questioning their career choices and how secure their jobs may be. It enhances the stature of working for you, while raising their professional visibility and stature too. It signals your understanding of their desire to advance even during tough times and that, at least in some aspect of their life, they can feel proud that they are getting ahead.

How well do you understand your employees and their worries? Take time to assess yourself. Look and listen and you’re likely to find many creative ways to signal that you care. Empathic leaders are generally rewarded with great employee loyalty and longevity and, more importantly, are viewed as just splendid human beings overall.


About the Author:

Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,

The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at https://drcarolwebster.com or call 954.797.9766.

E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262  Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317
954.797.9766 http://DrCarolWebster.com

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