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A guest posting by Chatty Garate
Today, more and more companies are recognizing the importance of diversity in the workplace, especially when it comes to creativity. We all know how quickly the world changes. For a business to thrive, one must easily adapt to these transitions through unique but helpful solutions. And with the different perspectives of diverse people, there will come out-of-the-box ideas to bring something new to the table.
But while you may focus on the benefits of workplace diversity, know that there is some work that you need to do first. You see, embracing diversity is about fostering an environment of inclusivity, compassion, and acceptance. And one key factor to achieve that is by having an empathetic leader—someone who recognizes and understands the unique experiences and emotions a diverse workforce brings. This blog will explore more about them.
What is Empathetic Leadership?
Before you can truly understand how empathy plays a role in leadership, you must first learn its definition. While many people often confuse it with sympathy, empathy works a little differently. Sympathy is acknowledging someone’s situation, while empathy is putting yourself in their shoes and feeling the same feelings.
In leadership, empathy is being able to relate and connect with the team. This means showing genuine care and finding ways to bring out the best in them no matter how different they may be. Empathetic leadership is about creating a culture of inclusivity, trust, and communication to develop meaningful relationships in the workplace.
Why Empathy is Important in Diverse Workplaces
Empathy is the only way you can really get to know each and every person on your team—their true personal self and not the mask they use at work. By empathizing, you can build a bridge made of trust and respect, which can make your team feel validated and safe.
This is very important because the only way a team can get to work together efficiently is if they trust and respect one another. With the two elements being the foundation of a diverse workforce, gone are those days of missed deadlines and unsuccessful projects.
Ways to Become an Empathetic Leader
You can be able to show your empathy with these tips:
Keep an Open Door
Not everyone gets comfortable that quickly in a group sharing their personal thoughts and even their input for a certain project. By keeping an open door for just about anything, they will know that you’re always there to help no matter what problem they may have. Whether they ask for some tips for efficient time management or give feedback on current policies, encouraging them to reach out is a great first step.
To be able to share your thoughts, especially if you’re an introvert, takes a lot of courage. You don’t know how many times they think of trying to knock on your door before they actually do it. Hence, when someone starts to reach out to you, appreciate them for doing so and pay attention to their concern. You’ll only be able to understand what’s going on if you try to really listen to them.
Connect With Your Teammates in a Personal Level
Take the time to build relationships outside the workplace to know more about each individual. For instance, you may play sports like golf. Golf is a nice sport that allows every player to have fun while moving around and chatting.
Alongside it, you may create a fun little game like “Who wears the best outfit?” Divide them into little groups and have them assign their muse. They then have to think of golf outfit ideas, and whoever has the best dress can win something.
These team-building activities will bring your team close together while having fun.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Another way to become an empathetic leader is by understanding someone’s situation from their perspective. Imagine yourself dealing with the same problems they’re sharing with you. If you do that, you’ll feel what they feel and come up with the best solution to help them.
For instance, if they’re having problems with work and personal matters, imagine yourself dealing with them. Doing that can help you come up with a solution that’s fair for both parties.
You may think vulnerability may destroy your credibility as a leader but no. Emotions are what makes us humans, and showing them gives your team the impression that you’re also a person with feelings and not just someone who they follow orders from. Hence, show vulnerability, share your feelings with them, and be accountable for the problems you may have caused.
The action itself will demonstrate how strong and approachable you are as a leader. It will create a safe environment for the team to be vulnerable and express their own thoughts and feelings. If work is already taking a toll on their mental health, getting all those out on their chest will make them feel better.
Be Willing To Help
Finally, show genuine interest in helping them figure out the best solution to their problem. It’s ideal to have regular one-on-one meetings because they will help you get a better understanding of every one of your teammates. Besides the usual work-related questions, that’s also the perfect time to ask if there is something bothering them outside work. If you know where they’re coming from, you’ll be able to address problems better.
The Bottom Line
A diverse workforce will only be successful through the guidance of an empathetic leader. By following our tips, you can create an environment of inclusivity and acceptance where everyone will feel valued and respected. As a result, open communication and better team relationships will foster, helping your culturally rich organization thrive and achieve its goals.
A guest posting by Chatty Garate