What defines a great leader?
Can you remember the last manager or great leader who inspired you? What made them different from the others?
There are so many attributes to being a great leader but what makes them great? So special that they can fill you with passion and ignite something inside you.
Throughout history we can recall many great leaders, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Barack Obahma and John Hume to name but a few. All these great leaders had a common purpose, they all cared about their people. Their purpose was the service of others, their people were their priority. They lead with empathy.
With the current economic climate, it is evident that companies need to be leading with care. People are struggling both financially and mentally and right now need support but most importantly they need ‘empathy’. So, what is empathy? How can organisations lead with empathy? Showing that you care that you understand and feel what another person is going through. That same person who is your employee, who is committed to your organisation and you as a company. Working in the hospitality sector I understand many businesses have suffered and know the financial impact this is having but your employees have been struggling too. In fact, many whom I talk to still are.
How many organisations can say they honestly know how their employees are feeling? How they felt during the worst of the pandemic, how they are feeling now? Empathy is about emotion and understanding how a person feels and seeing through their eyes.
“Learning to stand in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, that’s how peace begins. And it’s up to you to make that happen. Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world.” Barack Obahma
As an organisation you need to understand and show your team, what can we do to help? How can we make this better for you?
It has been proven that staff who feel valued and appreciated will work harder and remain loyal to your business than those who do not. Communication is vital in any organisation and not just at the top. Those on the ground working long hours deserve that communication too. They are the faces of your organisation and represent your company values, after all your business would not be able to operate without them. Open, direct, and honest communication shows that you care and in return your staff feel valued but sadly it is one that is overlooked in many organisations.
Listen to your employees, I mean really listen. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a fundamental tool for understanding your employees wants and needs. This theory has never been more apparent in today’s climate. The wants and needs of your employees have changed prior to the pandemic and no two individuals are the same. Due to the pandemic many employees value their work life balance, their time with their children, their job security, all quite different but all fundamental to their emotional wellbeing and their needs. Many might not feel ready to return to work full time and would prefer part-time hours, others the motivation of a regular pay check is enough.
One thing is for certain though……
Right now, your people need guidance, your support, your empathy.