Taking an empathetic approach to management requires a high level of emotional intelligence. While empathy is a part of our biology, according to nebo, it also requires practice. As you reconsider or try to define your management style, here is a how-to guide for taking an empathetic approach.
Focus on listening.
Listening is a key step to treating co-workers and employees with empathy. Active listening requires paying close attention to the speaker. Make sure you are really understanding the message the speaker is trying to communicate with you. It’s easy to begin formulating a reply as they speak. Try your best not to do this! You may miss what the other person is trying to communicate. After the speaker is done speaking, you can even clarify what you heard by repeating it back to the speaker. This way, you are certain you’re on the same page. Active listening also means that it appears that you are listening. Nod every now and then to affirm you are listening.
Try to see every perspective on an issue
If a team member or employee has a different point of view about a particular issue, try to understand it from their perspective. Do their goals ultimately align with yours? If the answer to the question is yes, it may be possible to find a compromise or alternative. Understanding where someone is coming from will also help you to make empathetic managerial decisions. If you disagree, it’s important that you still treat this person the way you would like to be treated. You may not be able to reach a compromise but at least your employees will feel heard and safe to share their opinions and feedback.
Establishing clear expectations
Establishing clear expectations is one way to manage with empathy. Not only does this open up a path of communication and the space to re-evaluate if something changes, but according to Lattice, “…it makes being empathetic when things don’t go according to plan easier.” In addition to setting clear expectations, working with your employees to set their own goals and metrics will ensure that you find a good balance between challenging your employees and not giving them enough responsibility.
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