In this digital age, there is a big disconnect between leaders and the people they lead. Many managers think they are doing a great job but when you ask the people they lead, it’s quite the opposite. Many employees feel unappreciated and undervalued. Employee engagement is at an all time low. What seems to be missing link? Empathy.
Many organizations are focused on achieving goals no matter what the cost to employees. If we treat people only as the means to an end, we will never have their loyalty. Treat your people right. Great leaders are concerned about getting the job done as well as the well-being of those under their care. It doesn’t mean being overly attentive or soft but demonstrate that you value people. Without empathy, you can’t build a team, inspire followers or elicit loyalty. Leaders that possess this trait always make time for people.
“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”. – Theodore Roosevelt
Empathy and listening go hand in hand. Why? Because listening shows you care. You can’t show empathy if you do not listen. Good listening skills is fast becoming an endangered species due to information overload and shortened attention span. The quality of our listening determines the quality of our influence. Employees want to be heard and they want to be respected. Listening transmits that kind of respect and builds trust.
We tend to confuse empathy with sympathy; empathy is really being able to understand the emotions and needs of others. It’s putting yourself in their shoes.
Lauralee emailed me this:
“I worked for a company in Brussels a few years ago when my brother (who was living in the USA) had cancer. In that year, I had 10 weeks leave visiting him & then, when he died, attending his funeral). When I asked my boss, Eric how I repay the company for all these extra holidays, he simply replied “they weren’t holidays, don’t worry about it”. This attitude was not isolated & reflected the company culture . . . to this day, it was the best company I ever worked at & Eric was the best boss I ever had . . . I would walk over hot coals for him!”
If you want to increase employee engagement and loyalty. Pretty simple! Show people that you genuinely care! Sometimes it’s the little things we do that counts the most. It’s the simple things people remember. The thoughtful gesture, the kind word, the much needed support. It’s doesn’t cost much to show employees you genuinely care, but it can make the biggest difference in keeping them loyal, happy and engaged.