Empathy is simply defined as the ability to identify with others and be aware of their thoughts and feelings. Empathetic leadership is rooted in bringing that perspective into your decisions and actions as a leader.
Employees pay an extraordinary amount of attention to what we do in the moment. What we communicate when we aren’t formally thinking about communication is what employees actually hear.
We often measure only a narrow slice of what effective leadership delivers. Organizations don’t measure three additional outcomes—“returns” on leadership development investments that are valuable and impact business results.
At Insight Experience, we work to help business leaders grow and enable their organizations do great things. The leaders who participate in our learning experiences work in a wide range of settings and scale—from leaders of teams to leaders of global organizations; from leaders of small entrepreneurial businesses to leaders of worldwide functions. There is only one constant: the chaos and disruptions of 2020 have challenged each and every one.
A lot has been, and will be, written about the importance of leadership communication in times of uncertainty and change. This year, unlike others in recent memory, challenges leaders to communicate with a higher bar of clarity, consistency and frequency.
Let’s face it: most leaders learn their craft largely through apprenticeship. Talent Management and Leadership Development programs offer new skills and perspectives at key points in a leader’s career, but the most significant input to how leaders learn to lead is what they see in the leaders they have worked with-- for good or for bad.
COVID-19 has challenged us all to be flexible and adaptable at an amazing rate of speed. Business forecasts that looked strong and growing two months ago have cratered, workloads that were off the charts suddenly disappeared, everyone has had to connect electronically, and a simple handshake is no longer a viable way to greet a colleague or seal a deal. It’s easy to slide into anxiety and be paralyzed by uncertainty, but how we frame this moment in time is a powerful lever to our mental health and productivity. Leaders have always had to be masters at framing their thinking and the thinking of others, but with the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for that capability grew. What’s a Frame? Frames are the boundaries, interpretations and simplifications that we make mentally to understand a situation. We create them instinctively as a result of our experience and the data we take in, and they are particularly valuable in ambiguous or complex situations. We have both reactive frames, which shaped by our emotional responses, as well as proactive frames, which are shaped by logical thought. These mental filters not only help us make sense of a situation but also influence the range of actions we consider. As a result, our frame can be self-reinforcing, which is the powerful insight behind Chris Argyris’ “Ladder of Inference.” Frames are an integral part of processing information and making sense of a situation for ourselves. They are also a valuable tool to help leaders convey information to others.