Leaders are always looking for ways to motivate employees – through salary increases, a hybrid workplace model, more vacation days, etc. However, we often forget how much showing empathy and being a good person can motivate the people who we work with.
Showing empathy has always been key for managers. But nowadays, as people feel more and more stressed, it has become even more important that leaders are able to comprehend the emotions of others and sympathize with them instead of forcing decisions or being harsh.
In fact, a recent article by Forbes suggests that 67% of all people are experiencing increases in stress and 54% define themselves as emotionally exhausted. That means that if you take those already tired, sad, irritable employees and simply pile on more work, tasks, and stress, they won’t be motivated to succeed; in fact, they might just start looking for another job.
With that said, how can a leader find the balance between setting expectations, achieving results, and being empathetic? Let’s find out.
How to Show Empathy at the Workplace
Empathy is all about allowing yourself to also be vulnerable in front of other people. You don’t have to be a mental health expert to know that by sharing about your emotions, you will provoke the same reactions in others, as they will automatically feel it’s safe for them to share. As a leader, you can express your concerns, ask difficult questions, and then patiently listen to what your employees have to say.
It’s also vital to show a genuine interest in the person and be able actually to listen instead of only talking. Active listening is an essential part of empathy, as sometimes people can see your emotions through the simple expressions that you’re making or small body movements.
And finally, perhaps the most valueable piece of advice we can offer is to be active. Leaders who take the initiative and are actively looking to solve problems are more trustworthy in the eyes of their employees. You can do that by arranging casual meetings with team members and using those times to talk to them about work and their general well-being.
One simple way to implement these tips and demonstrate empathy is in meetings. Give others opportunities to share their thoughts, and be open to listen. Pay attention to their body language and tone to better understand their perspective and the emotions behind them.
Regardless of how many articles you read about the importance of money or how motivating employee benefits can be, you have to remember that a workplace is created by the people and the atmosphere they bring to it. By being a leader that’s empathetic, kind, and motivating, you will manage to encourage your employees a great deal more than if you get them a free fitness card.