Kathy’s Blog: Empathic Business: How a Disconnected Approach Leads To A Disconnected Business
June 4, 2015
I just recently heard a story that not only broke my heart but it taught me a lesson on what not to do as a leader. A young lady approached her boss because she was promised something that did not come to fruition as discussed. However, she was treated in a dismissive and insensitive manner when she attempted to bring it up in conversation with her manager. So much so that the answer to that employee was that she should get another job. I was appalled! Quite frankly, there is nothing more disconcerting than when the leader of an organization only looks out for his or her best interest with total disregard to the organization or it’s employees and its clients.
Empathy is the capacity to understand another person’s condition from their perspective. As a business owner or manager, it is incredibly important to be able to see yourself in the shoes of your employee, your clients and your vendors. This is especially crucial if you are part of a customer service-based industry. The success of your organization depends on this as well as your ability to stay future-focused (a topic I will discuss in fuller detail in a future blog).
Being disconnected can hurt your business tremendously. It’s important to note that whether you are servicing a client, working with vendors, or managing an organization, you must see yourself as part of a unit and not someone who is outside of it. Every decision you make must be associated with one outcome and all those involved must be on the same page,
Today, I would like to share five ways bosses can take a more empathic approach to business:
1. Take the time to speak to your employees and to understand how they feel about the work that they are doing. This is a biggie. Not checking in encourages miscommunication until it’s “too late” to fix issues.
2. Know that we all come from different backgrounds. Avoid setting stereotypes based on your beliefs.
3. Always provide positive feedback. Words of encouragement go much further than judgmental and critical ones.
4. Listen to the entire story; don’t build on it or take away.
5. Stay neutral at all times. Avoid taking sides, especially when resolving conflict.
The key is to create an atmosphere where you not only encourage quality work, but also help to create an atmosphere where employees feel they are a part of a team they can believe in and count on. Disassociation, lack of communication and dismissiveness all breed mistrust and fear which will impact your company culture–and your bottom line–almost immediately. Qualified, loyal talent is an asset to a company and taking the time to create a space in which your team feels understood, heard and appreciated will have them wanting to stay on board and reach your company goals together as a part of something larger than themselves. At the end of the day, let us all remember that while these staff members are working for us, they are also working with us, and we are a part of their own career path and journey. The more they love what they do and who they do it for and with, the more we have to offer our clients and our business.
With a happy heart,
Photo by Claudia Veras