How to be an empathic leader.

Whilst leadership styles in business vary from one to the next, especially since COVID 19, one character trait that is becoming essential in the workplace is empathy, and rightly so.

For too long workplace empathy has been overlooked as just a “soft skill”, opposed to a talent that does have measurable outcomes. The positive impact it has on people means empathetic leaders are often the ones with the most productive and loyal teams.

In fact, according to a recent study*, 93% of employees reported they would stay with an empathetic employer, and 60% would actually accept a lower salary to stay with them. Resulting in 92% of HR professionals believing that a compassionate workplace is a major factor for employee retention.

How to achieve authentic empathy.

Displaying empathetic leadership in your business can take many shapes and forms and can be an evolving process.

Below are some actions leaders can adopt to be more empathetic:

  1. Be open, fair and transparent – managers should have an open-door policy and open communication channels encouraging employees to speak when they need to, without judgement or any repercussions
  2. Encourage opinions to be shared – this will foster psychological safety and help team members work collaboratively
  3. Have regular one-to-ones – where genuine interest is shown in their feelings, and recognition given where it’s due
  4. Participate in team building exercises – get to know your employees as whole people
  5. Tell your employees/teams you care. Don’t assume they know

Why you should be more empathetic?

By embracing a more empathetic approach, it helps leaders understand the root cause behind poor performance and allows them to help struggling employees improve and excel. When their teams feel understood, cared for and appreciated they’re more willing to work harder for themselves and each other. It also has a positive impact on employee retention.

It’s important to remember that introducing empathy into all that you do doesn’t necessarily happen naturally or overnight, but through consistency and patience. But once this is ingrained in your organisational culture and ethos, it will come as second nature and will make the world of difference to your employees.

If you would like to discuss how we could help better equip the leaders in your organisations, whether it’s those just stepping into management positions or existing leaders honing their skills, then please get in touch.

*Businessolver’s State of Workplace Empathy

The 4Ps of Candid Conversations


The “Four Ps” model can help us to plan for a difficult or candid conversation so that both parties find it beneficial.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn how to plan for a difficult or candid conversation so that both parties find it beneficial
  • Understand how to use the 4Ps to deliver a difficult message
  • Consider how this can help manage under-performance in a structured manner

Assertive Disagreement


When you disagree with someone, it is often best to be direct and clear, as it avoids an unfortunate misunderstanding. People can shy away from disagreement as it can sometimes feel confrontational. The assertive approach introduced in this module helps you to express your disagreement in a professional, constructive manner.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn what assertiveness is
  • Learn a process to put your case across without getting emotional
  • Provide context for how to use the model in a real-world environment

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument


Because no two individuals have exactly the same expectations and desires, conflict is a natural part of our interactions with others. This self-test assessment will tell you more about your predominant style of handling conflict and what this means.

Learning Outcomes

  • Provide a starting point for your development
  • Identify your conflict handling style
  • Learn about the five conflict handling modes

AID Feedback Model


Providing feedback that encourages open dialogue and communication enhances your credibility as both a teammate and as a leader. AID is a simple feedback model that can be used for positive moments and those that need corrective action.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn a simple model for providing feedback
  • Identify your own role in each of the stages
  • Discover the benefits of creating a feedback culture

Action-Centred Leadership


Good managers and leaders should have full command of the three main areas of the Action-Centred Leadership model and should use each of the elements according to the situation.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discover John Adair’s action-centred leadership model
  • Learn how to adapt the model for your own work situation
  • Investigate the danger of becoming out of balance

Question Types


Asking the right question is at the heart of effective communication and information exchange. Using the right questions can improve a whole range of communication skills; the information we receive back (the answer) will depend very much on the type of question we ask.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn why asking the right question is at the heart of effective communication and information exchange
  • Discover why the right questions in a particular situation can improve a whole range of communication skills

Dr. Mehrabian’s Communication Model


We are always communicating, even when we are not speaking. Other factors communicate what we really think and feel, which can be explained by looking at Albert Mehrabian’s communication model.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn the impact of mixed messages when communicating
  • Understand that communication is a blend of words, body language and tone

Situational Leadership


Leaders need to tailor their approach based on the person they are coaching, their experience at the task and their level of enthusiasm for completing it.

The ability to adapt your leadership style to cater to different tasks and your people’s needs is called situational leadership.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership model
  • Recognise directive and supportive behaviours
  • Understand the four leadership styles in line with situational leadership
  • Understand the development levels of team members, based on competence and commitment
  • Become confident with flexing your leadership style to the individual and the situation