Valuing Employees

Lesson 2: Topic 21 of 21

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Specifically, a poll in early 2022 indicated that almost two thirds of employees felt unappreciated by their supervisors. Compare this to multiple research projects showing that teams perform better when the individual members are confident that they are appreciated and respected by the people they work with. Also, employees are more productive when they receive expressions of gratitude at work, especially when it comes from their managers and supervisors. So capitalize on this.  

Empathy can drive significant business results, according to Forbes. Citing research studies from a number of universities and professional journals, the magazine relates that experiencing an empathic response at work leads employees to be innovative and engaged in their job responsibilities. They are also more likely to agree with the statement, “My employer offers a good work-life balance.” At the opposite end of the spectrum, when employees don’t experience empathy at work, their performance suffers, they’re less likely to collaborate with coworkers or help others, their mental health deteriorates, and they’re overall more likely to quit. Unsurprisingly, customer service deteriorates, too. 

If you retain only one thing from this course, remember to strive to be an empathic, attentive listener. It costs nothing and can offer much. Even if you’re a more right-brained, unemotional, logical, introverted type, consider this a skill you can learn.

You’ve probably heard the truism that everyone is either people-oriented or task-oriented. Both orientations have strengths and weaknesses at work and in one’s personal life. True story: this author is definitely the latter (task-oriented), and struggled with some aspects of management as a result. As someone who often didn’t personally need it, remembering to give affirmation was sometimes tricky. At a corporate- sponsored retreat one year, the facilitator somewhat jokingly said, “It’s easy. Just think of being a people-person as a task to be mastered!” Simplistic as it sounds, this was a moment of epiphany for me. From that point on, in every supervisory encounter, I had a self-awareness of needing to focus on not only what I said but how I said it, how I was being perceived, and strove to figure out what the other person was feeling and perceiving during our interaction. It was a game-changer for me as a leader. 

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Finally, keep in mind that it’s been shown that when people have empathy modeled for them, they in turn become more empathic. In this way, you as a leader can keep empathy as part of your workplace culture. You don’t have to be a mental health expert to pay attention to others and show that you care.