Insights & news

Leading with empathy

By Rucha Bhalekar, Regional Communications Manager, Httpool APAC

The Covid-19 pandemic has propelled the world into a unique and unforeseen new reality, in which lockdowns and confinement to our homes have become normalized. Due to these changes, we have seen a shift in our priorities and for some, work has taken on a whole new meaning.

“At the onset of the pandemic, my company’s initial concern was the impact of Covid-19 on the business, discussions then quickly moved towards the staff, and how to support their families or loved ones”.

When managing and responding to a crisis, both our strengths and our weaknesses are highlighted. Leaders who are able to be empathetic whilst maintaining their strength and governance can make a huge difference during these difficult times.

Upon the onset of the second wave, the Httpool Regional Managing Director for APAC took the initiative to reach out to staff working in India as they faced a drastic increase in Covid-19 cases. This was to ensure all staff was made aware of the resources available to fight the spread of the virus and to share the steps management was taking to keep everyone safe and connected. This gesture was highly appreciated by the staff in India and ensured they all felt supported during this time. 

 

Being based in India myself, I witnessed the ongoing stress of increased cases and a general atmosphere of despair in the fight against Covid-19. It can sometimes be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

In these tough times, I believe that empathy is key.

The wellbeing and safety of a company’s employees should always be at the forefront of discussions especially when dealing with a crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic. When reaching the end of the tunnel and coming out the other end of a crisis, leaders who possess essential traits such as empathy,  will find their teams are more driven, loyal, socially linked, and in a better mental state. 

 

In today’s society, all companies should prioritize the development of trust, empathy, and comprehension within their day-to-day culture. This can be done by ensuring open lines of communication exist between managers and employees, leveraging social media to drive corporate culture, and choosing the right digital channels for internal communications. Building a culture of sharing, maintaining high employee morale, and encouraging trust within your organization are only some of the desired side-effects to the use of empathetic leadership.

 

Nitin Nohria, Harvard Business School scholar explains that “communication is the real work of leadership”. When coupled with empathy this can certainly create miracles.