Care. Just Care.
The Top 3 Ways to Do Just That
Many are talking about employee engagement: how to make sure we retain our employees, what are we going to do with these Millennials, and so on. We employ the best tactics, read about the best practices, and get on the Best Places to Work lists. But, today, I was meeting with a marketing guru and she reminded me that what people want, what they want to believe, is that you are being your most authentic, true self. Authenticity.
When you look at everyone on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook – we see everyone who’s:
Just Living My Best Life – LOL!
and we get FOMO.
Jealousy reigns because a friend just received that promotion or are on a Serengeti Safari. What we’re not seeing is the typical daily slog these individuals are experiencing 80% of the time. And 80%? That’s generous. Most of our days are filled with just getting by. You’ll likely never see this tweet:
OMG, my commute today was filled with rainbows and every time I needed to squeeze in, that courteous driver was right there for me! #bestlife
Commutes stink, for everyone. On most days, 80% of life is the in-betweens of those great moments we all share and like on social media. The in-betweens are made better by being true to one another and helping others do the same.
What do your teammates and employees want?
For you to care and show empathy. Showing empathy at work, according to the Forbes Coaches Council, is a great way to establish real connections and get people to follow you.
Here are the top ways to show empathy at work:
- Acknowledge an Accomplishment – Identify a recent accomplishment a colleague achieved – doesn’t have to be a major milestone – and ask her about it. Tell her what you noticed and why you’re interested and then, listen. Not only will you learn something about your colleague, they will feel valued.
- Provide Feedback – If something is going well, let your employees or colleagues know. If something could be done better, give constructive but straightforward feedback. But provide feedback in real time, rather than later, because the recipient will appreciate knowing what to keep doing (or stop doing) when they remember what they did in the first place.
- Be Present – Put your device down. Don’t think about lunch or what your reply is going to be. Don’t even take notes. Truly listen to the person you’re speaking with and take the time to hear their POV. Debra Russell, entrepreneurial coach, says that people know when you’re present with them, “It’s not about manipulating your body language. Frankly, your body will take care of itself. When you are present, your team will know it.”
Is there more to it than that?
Not really, but you do need to be genuine and authentic in your desire to learn about a colleague. This comes more naturally for some than others, but empathy needs to be a consistent tool on our utility belt.
Brené Brown, a popular TED talk-er, recently wrote Dare to Lead and suggests that truly daring leaders, Leaders of the Future, have “empathy, connecting to emotions that underpin an experience, not just to the experience itself.” Assuming she’s right, our typical 80% slog really could get better.