In a recent Harvard Business Review article, author Jennifer Moss quoted a survey of 3,900 employees and business leaders in 11 nations that found nearly one-third of respondents expressed the desire that organizations act with more empathy.
As we outlined in our L&D Trends 2022 report, an increased emphasis on soft skills — also known as power skills or behavioural skills — will become a top priority for companies to address in 2022. And, at the top of that list is empathy. Watch my video, or scroll down to read some ideas.
In the soft skills area, I think the pandemic has really shone a light on the need for us to re-balance our organizations between the drive for productivity and profits, with the needs of our people. Empathetic leadership can go a long way in reconciling those two key issues.
Here are three questions HR, L&D and C-suite leaders need to ask themselves and assess across their organizations.
1. How are You Cultivating Curiosity?
Are you cultivating curiosity through coaching and or any other programming that helps leaders develop their coaching skills? This includes active listening, asking powerful questions, getting curious, going below the surface. What are sort of the ways that you can encourage a coaching and development culture which supports that kind of curiosity?
2. Are You Creating Cross-Functional Groups?
One of the things that can be powerful in any organizations is to create “affinity groups,” whether it’s women returning to work or minorities or LGBTQ+ communities, which are all great. But I think one of the ways we can create even more empathy, is to create cross-functional groups with differing interests. It’s so important that individual leaders learn and understand the pressures that other groups may be facing and have places to discuss that that are safe.
3. How Can You Build Vulnerability?
The more we have the safety to be vulnerable with one another, the more empathy there is in the workplace. Whether that’s in training programs, or creating opportunities for connection or looking at programming that helps people work in smaller groups to build relationships. We’re really in a relationship deficit situation over the last few years with the pandemic. So how can we as talent professionals look for ways to help facilitate building more vulnerability and connection?
If you’re curious about how The Roundtable can help your organization develop a culture where leaders can support each other through coaching and mentoring, let’s start a conversation. And, be sure to download our 2022 L&D Trends Report for more insights into the issues affecting L&D professionals in the year ahead.