Importance of Empathy in Leadership During a Pandemic
We usually talk about being healthy. I think for a lot of people believe physical health, but a lot of it has to do with your emotional wellbeing and how you’re doing mentally. Please make sure you’re taking care of that as well. What I wanted to talk about today is that leaders need to have emotional intelligence, mainly empathy during these times.
I know that many people have lost their jobs. People are concerned about the unemployment rate. I hope with some States reopening; we can reduce some of that unemployment and hopefully not head into recession, as some experts are predicting. For the people who still are employed, there is that worry in the back of their minds. They are trying to make sure that they continue having a job, especially if they have others that depend on them financially. You also don’t want to complain because you feel a sense of guilt because of the fact that so many people have lost their jobs. You feel grateful that you still have one.
2020 has just been a horrific year for many people. There have been good things as well, but this year is definitely the biggest test for many. I think just everyone’s mental health has taken a hit. I don’t care if you are the most happiest person; you have felt it. I do feel like the majority of people are right now just living life at 60, 75%. Add that everybody’s at home and can’t really go anywhere. Additionally, for those who have like little kids and then had to homeschool them on top of having jobs, I can’t even imagine. I had two teens at home and I was pulling my hair out.
I really, really commend those parents with smaller kids who on top of the fact that they had to take care of their kids, they were doing amazing things at work. Companies need to be empathetic and have emotional intelligence. For leaders like me, if someone has to take a mental health day, let him/her. Do not make them feel bad about it and that in the future, he/she will be scrutinized. I’m hearing stories about some leaders out there who are just making their employees feel horrible when they have to take off or they have to go somewhere or take care of their families. Leaders and companies, we should have emotional intelligence, especially empathy.
What’s upsetting is that companies right now are probably thinking, “Oh, well, because these people should be grateful to have a job and they don’t want to be unemployed; let’s make them work like crazy. Let’s make them feel like they can’t take off.”
I just think that is a horrible way to be. At the end of the day, we’re all humans, and we’re dealing with all the stuff that is happening this year. You know you can’t control viruses and bad behavior (unless it’s your own). We are all affected, even if indirectly. I understand. We want the companies to ride out this unknown time. But as a human, I don’t care. I have to let my team members who need it take that day off.
If a person has to leave, make sure that the other team members can support that person until he/she returns. Please make sure that the team all know what is going on, and they are training one another.
We need to do better, especially now that everyone is not at 100%.
Leaders, I bet you are also not at 100%. If you need to take some time off, then take it. You don’t want it to get to the point that your team member or you end up in a hospital. That one day off that they could have taken has now turned into two-three weeks because they’re just completely burnt out. And that is the worst thing that you can do. As I always say, it’s always better to be proactive than reactive. So proactively be empathetic, listen to your employees, let them take that time off that they need. And I bet you, you won’t have to be in crisis mode because those people will be happier than they would be. If you were making them feel like crap, whenever they have to take that time off and reminding them that they need to tell this person, then that person, you know, as sometimes, as you can tell,
Let me know how your companies are treating you. How are you treating your employees?