Servant Leadership and Empathy in Business Communication:
The best entrepreneurs are not just businessmen. They’re a lot more.
There’s a fine line between being professional and being friendly at work.
You don’t want to be seen as a shrewd boss, nor do you want to be too friendly and be taken advantage of.
Yes, there is a whole concept of servant leadership, which means the leader serves his team, rather than just give orders.
But, does servant leadership work?
Let’s find out.
Back when I used to work in Pune at an MNC, I had the opportunity to work under two managers; who were both very good at their work and equally talented. However, the first one, was a little uncompromising. He would not grant leaves to his team members, monitored breaks strictly and would only talk work.
The second one, was a cool guy. He was considerate, would understand his team’s problems and discuss it with them as a mentor. He would try to create a healthy atmosphere and ensure that work was fun for his team.
Honestly, the team enjoyed a lot working with this second manager. They were not just happy at work, the team’s productivity increased substantially. The difference between the two managers was in their empathetic behavior towards subordinates.
Traits like humanity and empathy are often overlooked, but it’s immensely important to implement them in your lives. Especially in a professional scenario, an empathetic nature can prove to be miraculous. Here is why empathy in business communication is so important.
It Boosts Employee Morale
When you start developing powers of empathy, the whole world opens up to you. When treated with care and concern, employees feel at home, and are happy to work.
Little gestures like appreciation for good work, letting a day off in times of emergency, hearing out what your employee has to say, make them feel important resources of the organization and not just work machines. It boosts employee morale to an unbelievable extent.
Creates a Warm Work Atmosphere
No one likes to work under pressure with bad-tempered bosses. It is always a good idea to share a good laugh with your employees, talk about things other than work and make work more fun and likeable. Empathy creates a homely, warm atmosphere at work, which keeps employees happy.
Your employees should be happy to get up the next morning and come to work. A good work environment improves employee productivity and reduces employee turnover significantly.
Ensures Better Problem Solving
Leaders who don’t listen are eventually surrounded by employees who have nothing to say. Employees find it very difficult to put forth their views to superiors who are not so willing to hear them out. Not every problem can be solved in meetings and conferences.
Many a times people have excellent troubleshooting ideas which can be best discussed over a cup of coffee. Being open to others’ opinions and respecting their views ensures better and quicker problem solving at work.
Easy Change Management
Changes in any organization are tough to make, and even the smallest change comes with resistance. However, it is up to you to bring about a smooth transition. A classic example here is that of the recent demonetization in India. It was one of the biggest changes in the Indian economy.
But it was successful because the person causing the change made it smooth for the people. People will never coordinate with you if you’re never considerate with them. If you’re an empathetic businessman, change management will be much easier for you.
You don’t earn loyalty in a day. You earn it gradually, day-by-day. If you respect your employees, treat them fairly and are always ready to help them, they tend to develop loyalty for you. They will always think twice before going against your decisions, even before moving out from your organization.
Treating people with understanding is the best intangible investment that you can do at work. The returns that you’ll get will be extremely remarkable.
One of the greatest gifts of being humans is that we have the power of empathy. Instead of always trying to put others in the right place, it is sometimes worth putting yourself in their place.