The ongoing coronavirus crisis is teaching us all sorts of lessons about how, when and where business can be done.
It’s likely that the pandemic will drive very real lasting change where the world of work is concerned, with remote working and online collaboration set to become the new way to build a successful company.
But it is also showing us just what it means to be a real leader and how to be an effective business owner and manager, with employees and their wellbeing placed at the very heart of operations.
Every company is in a different situation at the moment. Some leaders are finding they now have to do their jobs with half the team either furloughed or off sick, others are fully staffed but have to take life practicalities even more into account than before, such as childcare, exercise, shopping… the way daily life is led has now changed (for the better in some ways, for the worse in others) with no definite end in sight.
This means that leaders now have to focus on empathy more than ever before and, while this may well have an impact on productivity at the moment, it’s certainly worth investing in, since it shows employees that you do truly care and they’re not just a cog in the machine, turning to make you money. It shows that you value the work they do and that you appreciate the contributions they make.
Listening is a key skill when it comes to being empathetic, but it’s not just about listening to what is being said. It means paying attention to body language, tone of voice, the hidden messages behind the words… and not thinking about what you’re going to say next, but really paying attention to your members of staff.
Taking a personal interest in the lives of your team has always been important but perhaps now more so than in the past, when there is so much going on and so much stress and worry that could be taking their toll.
Keep in constant contact with your team, especially the quieter ones, and don’t make it all about work. Talk to them about their lives, how they’re coping, if there’s anything you can do to help… and don’t forget that some people may well have been in solo isolation for weeks now, so loneliness could be a real factor for many in your company.
And, of course, being an empathetic leader is likely to have a positive effect on your business once this current crisis comes to an end. If you focus on developing empathy at the moment, you are sure to find that your employees are far more loyal to you and your brand than they might have been otherwise.
This in turn will help to develop successful teams that are more cooperative, less stressed, more creative and better at solving problems… which will only benefit your business in the long run.
For further help and advice relating to business leadership development, get in touch with us today.