Now is a time for compassion. Not just sticking to the facts.
Last week a prominent New Zealand business leader gave the advice that right now it is critical we 'deal in facts' at this time.
Nothing wrong with that. Right? Well I guess it depends on how this is interpreted. I have learned of, and seen, numerous employee announcements in the past week that have shocked and outraged me at the callousness and lack of empathy being displayed by leaders to the plight that we are currently facing. No one is immune. We are in this together.
In one instance, an email was sent out advising an employees' hours, and subsequently pay, was being cut back by 80%! Should the employee feel grateful that they at least have 20% of their income? I'll leave that for you to decide, but what is most appalling, is that this so-called leader, lacked the strength of character and understanding to have the conversation in person.
I know it's hard. No one likes having these kind of conversations, but in this instance, this leader showed their ineptness in understanding the power of empathy and emotional connection. The damage to an organisation's reputation due to this kind of thing, will cost far more than the 80% of someone's salary ever would.
Now I get that I don't represent 100% of the work force. But I do represent at least 50% of your employees in that 'emotion' is a significant driver of how they show up every day.
As for me, I'm in the top 10th percentile on that one. It means I value warm emotional connection. Relationships are important to me. I wear my heart on my sleeve - so by that, you'll know where I stand on things. I am passionate and intuitive, and will take into account the emotional state of others and manage myself accordingly. The 'experience' and how you make us FEEL is everything.
For leaders who 'stick to the facts', you risk alienating me, and others like me.
We want, no NEED, to see that you care.
This quote supposedly originated from Theodore Roosevelt (I can't prove that but it doesn't change the message) "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care" is a fantastic reminder of putting people's feelings on the agenda first.
All we ask is that you acknowledge how we're feeling, that we are valued, that this is hard and that you're in this too - just as scared and vulnerable as everyone else. It's as simple as that.
This just isn't my opinion. It is something I have heard over and over in my field conversations and research. Especially when it comes to sales teams - especially those working remotely.
We have to look no further than our own Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern, to see a great example of compassionate leadership. There is no doubting Jacinda is at her very best when showing empathy and compassion.
If you want to be a respected leader, you need to be on point with your levels of emotional intelligence if you are to earn the trust, loyalty and unwavering faith and commitment of your charges.
More than ever, now is a time where leaders need to show understanding, concern and empathy for employees in their charge. I get that hard decisions will have to be made, but do it with heart. It's ok to be angry or scared. Your employees certainly will be, as no doubt you are. But letting them see that they are not alone, that you really do care, and share their concerns, means it is likely they will stick by you and hunker down, doing whatever it takes to get through it.