According to a Gallup poll, nearly 70% of employees report that they are not actively engaged with their jobs. Even more astonishing, this loss of productivity costs the American economy an estimated $350 billion annually. Where are the heart leaders?
Clearly a discontented workforce can be bad for business. Which is why your leadership style can actually make a big difference when it comes to engaging your workers. So how do you stem the tide of job dissatisfaction to create a work environment that both fulfills and challenges personnel?
The answer may be contrary to what you have been taught in business school.
The Heart Leader
Traditional leadership styles are ones that are usually more focused on taking a purely analytical approach to meet business objectives. By comparison, the heart managerial approach is one that depends on building relationships to motivate employees.
The idea of bringing emotions into the workplace may seem like a soft leadership tactic that would undermine profitability. However, in many cases, the opposite is actually true. In fact, a recent survey shows that organizations with more engaged leadership report a stronger company culture with less turnover than those where the managers are seen as more detached from their staff. In fact, more than a third of respondents stated that a good relationship with their boss meant more to them than financial compensation. If leaders have the opportunity to be both compassionate and goal oriented in the workplace, why not do so? Especially since putting people first ultimately pay dividends on your bottom line? The truth is, very few managers have been trained on how to properly do it.
Building Rapport through Empathy
The hallmark of a good heart leader is the ability to make their people feel special. They recognize the contributions each person brings to the team because they take the time to get to know them personally. For them, connecting to a person’s feelings provides the tools necessary to rally a team around a vision and motivate them to perform at higher levels.
So if connecting with your worker’s feelings is the key to higher yield, how do you begin to bridge the gap between employee and management? You do that by being more empathetic, especially when it comes to seeing things from your staff’s perspective.
Remember that in order to develop an effective workforce, leaders must be willing to compromise and meet people where they are. A critical part of developing empathy, however, is learning to understand, respect and implement another individual’s point of view rather than forcing your own. Of course, this can be frustrating, considering that it likely runs counterintuitive to how many managers chose to govern their staffs. But it’s ultimately worth it when it comes to creating a thriving culture that embraces both your core values and your data-driven goals.
Changing the Dialogue Remember, your employee’s perception of your management style can have a direct effect on how they perceive their overall satisfaction on the job. So it’s imperative for leaders looking to make a difference to change the way workers see their role on your team. This means creating a space that encourages them to see you as someone on the same team. And that your goals should be shared by them as well. You can nurture this type of relationship by going beyond empathy to getting involved with the employee’s development. Making sure to engage them to see what their personal goals are in order to tie them to the company’s long term success strategy.
A heart leader is one that goes beyond mere analytical management styles to embrace your employee’s needs and feelings. Doing so will not only create a happier workplace but it may also have increase your business profits. Be sure to utilize empathy as a way to build lasting rapport with your workers while tying their workplace success to that of your business.