Empathy is more important now than ever for our leaders. Recognised as a critical skill for leaders, the impacts of a global pandemic and lockdowns mean people are under considerably more stress with their personal and work lives thrown into turmoil. The stats on mental health globally and within New Zealand caused by the pandemic are alarming, and as people struggle through tough times and burnout empathy is one of the most powerful ways to motivate and bring teams together, leading to greater organisational retention, productivity, and engagement.
Leaders can practice empathy by asking the question: If I was in their position, what would I be thinking / feeling right now? And more importantly asking that question directly, and really listening to the response and considering the challenges and concerns.
Ways we have seen employers show empathy through our current Auckland lockdown are:
Open communication lines with regular check ins
Reallocation of tasks to support those struggling
Work flexibility and greater autonomy to manage your working day
Mental health / family days
Surprises and gifts
Has your employer shown you empathy throughout the recent New Zealand lockdown?