The importance of empathy and honesty for leaders

Tania

​The majority of exit survey data reveals that poor leadership is a popular reason for employees leaving. Business leaders need to create positive, quality relationships with their staff members if they want to improve their organisation’s health and stability. Establishing these relationships is no easy feat, but a leader’s empathy and honesty can make all the difference.

What Empathy and Honesty Look Like in the Workplace

Using empathy and honesty in your leadership approach can mean anything from being flexible, communicating clearly and listening well to reading body language and cues, catering for diverse working styles and providing straightforward performance evaluations. Your employees should feel supported, know where they stand and believe everyone is working towards one shared goal.

The Impact of Being Empathetic and Honest

There are many benefits associated with empathy and honesty being shown at a leadership level, including low attrition rates, high levels of engagement, belief in values, an increase in productivity and an overall happier culture. As a leader, you play an important role in the life of an employee – you have the chance to make their life wonderful or miserable. People will never forget the way you made them feel. One question to ask yourself is: what will my employees be saying about me at the dinner table tonight?

How to Create an Empathetic and Honest Workplace

The number one way to do this is to lead by example. Be all in – people want leaders who show that they care. This means not shying away from difficult conversations and making things personal; you care enough to address the tough issues and have direct conversations. You have accepted the responsibility to help make a difference in the lives of other people. It’s also important to know that delivering honest feedback will strengthen your relationship, not damage it. It’s not about being perfect either – your team will know this but they will also know your passion comes from a belief in a cause bigger than them or you.

Another great way to show strong leadership is to ask for honest feedback yourself. How can you improve? Do your employees want more direct and honest conversations? Could you be more understanding?

Anyone Can Demonstrate and Develop Empathy and Honesty

The great thing about empathy and honesty is that you don’t need years of experience to possess them, yet they can have such an impact on others. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 20 years old or 50 years old – if you have these characteristics, you have the foundation for truly effective leadership. Remember that people will also know whether you are driven by ego or your motive is to genuinely help others get ahead.

Understanding how empathy and honesty can shape a workplace is important for leaders in all industries and organisation sizes. With this knowledge, leaders can unleash their team’s potential and increase workplace satisfaction.

Tania Sinibaldi is the Chief Operating Officer, Staffing Services at Chandler Macleod. Tania has over 20 years in the recruitment industry and has extensive experience with managing teams. Connect with Tania on LinkedIn or leave a comment below.

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