How do you genuinely inspire and motivate your team? In the age of “the Great Resignation,” good leadership stands out. Managers and business owners who think that they’re charismatic and influential leaders may need to take a moment to reflect on their effectiveness. Leading with compassion may be the key to connecting with employees on a deeper level and ensuring a loyal and productive team.
If you truly want to influence others, you need to earn their trust. Influencing for the sake of influence, power, or other self-centered motivations isn’t going to get you anywhere, and your team can usually see through a leader that doesn’t have genuine care and concern for their well-being.
Focus On Transformation
Without a personal connection, leaders find it difficult to affect people’s behavior over time – at least without coming across as dictatorial or overbearing. To achieve a personal connection, focus on encouragement and support through empathy for your team.
During this time of uncertainty, from post-COVID protocols to workplace challenges, present yourself as human and vulnerable, rather than infallible and unapproachable. Your team is looking at how you cope, and demonstrating that you’re human goes a long way towards establishing personal connections.
You can’t reach people if you’re only motivated by the bottom line. Here are four ways that leaders and business owners can lead with compassion.
Engage in Active Listening
Instead of seeking to influence others, focus instead on asking the right questions and listening to what your team is and isn’t saying. You may not have all the answers, but being present goes a long way towards building trust.
Many businesses owners labor under the impression that they have to have all the answers to gain respect. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you want to make a difference, listen, process, and then act upon what you’re hearing from your team. Being consistent with your communication gives your team stability and trust in what you say.
Know Your Team Members
Get to know your employees to understand what truly motivates them. While money and job security are big motivators for anybody, there are also secondary motivations that you won’t understand unless you take the time to create and nurture those interpersonal connections. For example, have genuine conversations about areas your team sees for improvement or things they didn’t like about past leadership (at the current workplace or other jobs they’ve had).
If you create an environment of trust and respect, your team won’t be afraid to speak up. When they raise concerns, your reaction and how you listen will teach them everything they need to know about speaking up in the future.
Create an Environment of Appreciation
A simple word or praise or acknowledgment after a tough week goes a long way towards making people feel valued in their jobs. When you do give praise, make it specific and personal. Note where someone played a critical role in the success of a particular project or when someone went above and beyond in client care.
Your End Goal is Self-Awareness
Are you out of touch? Is your approach tone-deaf? Take some time for introspection to determine if you’re leading from the heart or still leading from the desire to influence others. Being self-aware enough to admit that you’re constantly growing and improving as a leader sets an example for your team. Plus, taking the time for regular self-assessments can help you determine whether you’re on the right path for compassionate leadership.
Employees crave transparency and authenticity in their leaders, not simply giving a motivational speech. Leading with compassion and humility is often the key to having a loyal team that trusts your leadership.