The ongoing health and economic crisis has caused unparalleled disruption across the business landscape. And amid a crumbling economy and mandated isolation, working professionals often find themselves at the brink of a burnout, with little reason to stay motivated. According to LinkedIn’s 2020 year-end data, 87 percent of India’s professionals chose to spend more time working than taking the December holiday break, which consequently led to 3 in 5 professionals feeling increasingly stressed. Ever since, this constant feeling of doom continues to envelop the workforce even today.
What the pandemic has taught us is that we cannot succeed alone, and the emotional well-being and mental health of our employees, colleagues, teams, and agency partners is the employers' responsibility. The overall employee experience is also a significant metric of success for a company today. LinkedIn’s Future of Talent 2021 report found 85 percent companies in India take cues by holding more employee engagement activities, to keep employees inspired and connected with their teams despite working in isolation.
But what really underscores employee experience and well-being? Empathy or compassionate leadership is the foundation of a healthy, collaborative, trustworthy, and transparent work culture. Several companies have made this their organisation’s tenet, focusing on people-centric leadership as the way forward. Managers who support the learning and growth required for people to succeed can inspire their team members to bring their best selves to work. They help companies deliver richer cultures, higher engagement, more creativity, and better business results. A Glint’s State of the Manager 2021 report states that employees who find their manager(s) inspirational are twice more likely to feel optimistic about their own happiness at work.
Very simply put, empathy is the ability to step into someone else’s shoes and understand their emotions and needs. At a deeper level, it also means “connecting with people so we know we’re not alone when we’re in struggle”, as defined by author and researcher Brené Brown. Empathy helps build and strengthen peer relationships, fosters work productivity, and has proven to increase overall job satisfaction.
So how do you build teams and entire workplaces with people and talent at the centre, and how do you lead with empathy to inspire them to stay productive, happy, and healthy? Empathy is one of the most important skills a professional or leader can learn today, and its benefits can go a long way in their careers, especially in times of uncertainty.
Here’s how leaders and managers can keep themselves in check and practice empathy at work:
Empathy, today, is the key to unlock deeper, more meaningful professional growth and a shared company vision. It is also about redefining success, reimagining the way we work, and unlearning a few bad habits of the professional world that are stifling and limiting. Just like we learn to hold space for our friends and families, we are now willingly offering to hold space for our colleagues and employees to support them in the face of extreme adversity and loss.
The writer is a Career Expert and Communications Lead at LinkedIn India
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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