Empathy: The Competitive Advantage
Empathy is a cultivatable skill that galvanizes teams, drives positive organizational culture, and impacts the bottom line favorably. Business leaders need to recognize its power and wield it in the best interest of their organization. By deploying empathy appropriately, an organization can propel unbelievable levels of success.
Client satisfaction is improved with empathy, team collaboration, and engagement are multiplied in effectiveness by this seemingly simple soft skill. Leaders must consistently re-assess their leadership style to foster empathy and recognize if it is being deployed genuinely.
We are going on about empathy, so let's define the word as subtly and elaborately as possible for more context;
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of someone or something else. It is a potent behavioral catalyst that creates a conducive environment where creativity and productivity can thrive internally and externally.
Leaders who demonstrate high empathy can unlock higher motivation, engagement, and team performance levels. A recent study found that employees who feel their managers relate to them with empathy experience:
- 73% greater job satisfaction
- 50% higher productivity
- 63% higher engagement levels
These indicators highlight how much of a competitive advantage empathy provides, translating into substantial bottom-line benefits.
On a contrasting level, employees with low-empathy managers are more likely to quit their jobs, with turnover costs estimated at 150% of the departing employee's salary. So, it is quite an expensive venture to overlook the importance of empathy. Losing employees with incredible skills often sets back organizations on client projects being executed, which impacts revenue.
We have collated a few simple but highly effective ways for leaders to integrate empathy into their management style based on our experience and some best practices experts favor. We have chosen to do this because our staff retention rate is incredibly high (against the creative industry odds), and we even have creatives on our team who expressly say;
“I am working here forever…Never leaving!”.
We must be doing something right,so here are our recommendations;
Listen Intently: We know you are busy as a leader; a million things are crossing the neurons in your brain, but make time for one-on-one conversations where you can focus entirely on understanding each team member's needs and perspectives without distractions or judgment.
Get Personal: You are dealing with another human being and not a robot (we hope). So, get to know your line report as a person and not just another worker. Share stories and make personal connections. Most people stay at their jobs because of their managers and not necessarily their earnings.
Implement Compassion: How does the famous saying by Alexander Pope go again; "To err is human, to forgive divine." People will make mistakes, so instead of judging them harshly, re-examine the system, address the issue patiently, and offer support to help them improve.
Encourage Openness: Fear is a terrible ingredient when mixed into leadership. It makes it difficult for your team to share concerns and challenge the status quo without fear of negative consequences. So, set a culture that fosters the warmth of open communication and feedback. Set the stage to be trusted.
It takes a lot of effort to lead with empathy, but it enables authentic human connection that brings out the best in the people you lead. With it, your level of employee retention is on the rise, productivity is consistent, and profitability is positively impacted. It remains a compelling advantage to have in this talent-driven competitive landscape.
Go grow with empathy!