I can never forget my first boss, Joseph. When I had a personal crisis the first thing he told me was, “Why aren’t you out the door yet, I’ll cover for you.” He was concerned about my well-being. He genuinely cared about his employees. These are the bosses we remember.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to sweeping changes and disruptions in nearly every aspect of our daily life. Lately the World Health Organization warned that the pandemic is yet to reach its peak and is in fact “getting worse” in most countries around the world. Therefore, more than ever managers need to be considering the well-being of their employees.
Empathy is always important, but it is particularly vital during a crisis.
“To be kind is more important than to be right. Many times, what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks but a special heart that listens.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald
You can show empathy and kindness by:
- Frequently checking in with your employees. In this time of physical distancing people want to feel connected. Take the time to listen. Empathy and listening go hand in hand.
- Being understanding. Don’t be quick to criticize others without making the effort to understand how their situation is impacting their choices. Try to remember that everyone copes differently.
- Offering support. “What can I do to help?” Be genuine and follow through.
- Showing that you care. If someone sick or has a sick family member, be empathetic.
- Being considerate. People still want to feel appreciated. If they mention they are out of something. Why not order it through online delivery and send it over?
- Provide mental health resources in your workplace. Make sure these are available online.
You may be a manager but above all, you are a human being. It is important to remember that we are in this together—think of others, reach out however you can, and remember to offer help even to those who may seem to be coping well. Be flexible and compassionate. In this COVID-19 pandemic we don’t need numbers-driven but human-centred leadership. We need leaders with a heart for people.
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