This article comes from Entrepreneur.
As a challenging year winds down, companies are sifting through what worked and what didn’t as they prepare to reboot for 2021 after dealing with the many difficulties brought on by the pandemic.
There are unexpected twists and turns to any big change in company operations. Employees have to adjust to new processes – sometimes after having done things the same way for many years. This learning curve can understandably cause panic. Employees can be resistant to learning how to make it work to their advantage. Leaders need to expect these reactions and develop a plan based on empathy in order to deal with it.
True listening means listening with open ears, open eyes, and an open heart. It means paying attention to body language, to tone of voice, to the hidden emotions behind what’s being said. You’ll always gain more from listening than from speaking.
For a leader, empathy is more than listening and nodding your understanding; it’s understanding that your employees have their own working and communicating styles and a life separate from work. In stressful, uncomfortable times like these when change is thrust upon them, you can stay connected with them by making them feel more comfortable. Leaders can begin to do that when they put themselves in their employees’ shoes to better understand things from their perspective.
Allowing people to feel free to air their concerns and speak their truths during change and upheaval can do wonders for the work culture in the long run. The foundation becomes stronger because of the trust factor. Leaders understand the challenges that exist through the organization, which helps them be more effective in leading their teams through change.
The best organizations understand that there is no endpoint to change. Change is for the greater good of continual evolution collectively and individually. Therefore, there are no excuses like being fatigued by change. Instead, leaders need to sell change as a necessary energizer that benefits everyone. Show the workforce how the new systems can work in their favor, not against them.
Empathy gives you insight into what others are feeling and thinking. At its foundation, empathy informs your decision-making by sharpening your perceptions and intuition.
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