I saw a video recently by Simon Sinek on how leaders should practice empathy. In the video, he affirms that a daily practice of putting others' well-being first has a compounding and reciprocal effect in relationships, friendships, and the way we treat our clients and our colleagues.
- Empathy is the most important instrument in a leader's toolbox.
- Empathy is being concerned about the human being, not just their output.
- The true test of leadership: When you ask someone how they're doing, do you actually care?
Giving your co-worker your full attention is an effective way to be empathetic. Look out for verbal and nonverbal clues that help you fully understand their situation. Set aside your assumptions, acknowledge your colleague's feelings, allow an emotional connection, and then take positive actions to improve their well-being.
Avoid passing judgement about others at work. When someone has not completed a task in the timeline you wanted, please don't call them lazy? Try and understand the reasons why the task was late. It is unlikely to be for the reasons you think.
Like most leadership skills, empathy doesn't happen overnight. It the time to practice it, as you will develop a higher level of respect and influence. You will eventually create an empathetic workplace culture where connection, trust and compassion abound.