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The Grossman Group CEO and communications expert David Grossman shares his insights on the importance of meaningful leadership communication in today’s business climate. With high level tips on engagement and connection, insights into employee motivations and behavior, and firsthand stories from the frontlines of America’s leading companies.

The leadercommunicator blog is instructive, entertaining, and a must-read for leaders, communicators, and leadercommunicators.

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Workplace Diet: Five Steps To Be More Empathetic

  
  
  
  
  
  

describe the imageIn today’s business world it seems as though everything is urgent. Projects come in with a due date of yesterday. Leaders and employees alike run from meeting to meeting. And work-life balance continues to be a challenge for many.

With so much going on, how can we bring more humanity into the workplace?

Earlier this year as part of our Workplace Diet series, I wrote about the need for leaders to listen more when communicating to better understand where an employee is coming from.

As you work on that skill, it’s important to recognize that it’s not enough to just hear what’s being said. To build and maintain healthy relationships with your team – relationships based on common understanding and trust – you need to show empathy, respect, and sensitivity.

When you communicate with your employees, they want to know you understand where they’re coming from and what they’re feeling. Empathy doesn’t mean you agree.  It’s about helping an employee know he or she is being heard.

The desire to be heard is a basic human need.

Here are the five critical steps to demonstrate empathy and better connect with your employees:

  1. Listen without interruption
  2. Pause and imagine how your employee is feeling
  3. Show you hear them by reflecting back what they are saying: “What I hear you saying is…..”
  4. Validate their feelings:  “I understand you’re feeling…..”
  5. Support and close the conversation

Responding with empathy, and reflecting back feelings when appropriate, not only demonstrates good listening, it shows you are sincere and care.

The payoff is an employee who knows you care; and at the same time, you gather information that’s useful for you.

In what ways can you better empathize with your employees? 

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Comments

Great article! Today's work environment moves way too fast and we often times forget about what drives the business, our employees. As managers/leaders we need to slow down and take time to listen (and HEAR) what's on the minds of our associates. This is one of the basic tenants of Change Management techniques.
Posted @ Friday, August 03, 2012 9:17 AM by Sheri
Empathy is a valued currency that allows us to create bonds of trust and understanding with our team. It may appear as a soft, sometimes abstract tool in a leader's toolkit, but it definitely lead to authentic, tangible results. 5 great steps to follow, David!
Posted @ Tuesday, August 07, 2012 4:27 PM by Kent Julian
I agree, Kent. As leaders we need to understand the importance of empathy as a tool and how we can use it to create bonds within our teams.
Posted @ Thursday, August 09, 2012 9:00 AM by David Grossman
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