Living in a time of pandemics made people question their life choices. In fact, a recent statistic shows that almost half of the surveyed workforce claims that their lives have been altered in the last two years. Furthermore, they say that the whole global situation has utterly affected them.
So it's no wonder that employees think more about their personal situation than their work tasks. And this translates into less focused employees everywhere you look on the map. In fact, last year – 20% of the labor force was engaged in their work.
Furthermore, the number of people who claim to live a stressful life has increased tremendously. A Gallup report shows how 43% of the working population is affected by stress. Thus, it's easy to assume that the world is on the verge of a breakdown.
Image provided by Gallup
But what can employers do in a situation that is not necessarily in their hands to solve? How can leaders reduce the risk of their employees decreasing productivity to the point of burnout? Furthermore, what can they do when, according to a Microsoft report, more than 40% of the global workforce considers changing their jobs?
In our opinion, the secret key to helping employees in these difficult times is to take a more humane leadership approach, an empathetic leadership one. As its name implies, empathetic leadership focuses on acknowledging and embracing the needs of all the team members. Simply put, empathetic leadership means talking with your staff about their feelings and thoughts. In other words, it means having a conversation about other aspects and not just about work tasks.
Unfortunately, not many leaders are very fond of this approach. In fact, 68% of the CEOs mistake empathy with weakness and think that their employees will respect them less if they show them that they care.
This is why we want to raise the alarm on the matter and say loud and clear that people are afraid. They are afraid for their health, they are afraid of losing their jobs, and they are afraid of negative feedback. Basically, they are afraid about the future, making them more anxious by the day. So it's no wonder why they jump from one job to another, hoping that they will find a place where they can be treated as human beings and not as pawns on a chessboard.
So, with all this said, we want to turn to you, the leader reading this article. We want to tell you that it's ok to show people around you that you deeply care. We want to tell you that it's ok to help your employees solve their personal problems. Most importantly, we want to tell you that it's ok to show compassion if one of your team members is going through a tough time.
“I know that vulnerability is the core of shame, fear and our strongest weakness, but it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, and of belonging.”
- Brene Brown
Therefore, don't wait for the situation to become critical. Start talking to your employees about personal issues. Ask them how they feel on a weekly basis and let them know that you really care about their answers. Because practicing an empathetic leadership style is the correct way to practice business now and in the times to come.
Studies show that, in fact, many companies don't manage to achieve a response rate of more than 50%.
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