We have more than likely experienced a crisis at this point. If not, a crisis is inevitable. A crisis can come in many forms. Like a pandemic, financial downfalls, or even the loss of a team member. Conflict is inevitable, but what can we do about it? It comes down to preparation. Remember a crisis can bring out the best and worst in people. Some will thrive and some will struggle. But having empathy can play a major part. Empathy is an essential skill and trait great leaders must have to ensure their team feels taken care of.
But how do you truly demonstrate empathy as a leader?
Jonathan Blum, Founder of Bad Martha Beer and former Yum! Brands SVP, Chief Public Affairs Office are three steps to demonstrate empathy during a time of crisis:
- Take care of your employees. Reach out to your team members regularly. Asking these three questions can help you understand how they are handling the changes:
How are you doing?
How is your family doing?
Is there anything we can do for you? Then take action.
- Take care of your customers. Be sure to communicate frequently with your customers. Consider reaching out to your most loyal users to check on them to see how they are doing. Let your customers know how and when they can access your products or services during this time. Engage with them through social media or online surveys to see if there is something you can be doing to better meet their needs. You might even consider offering special discounts on your product or service to help those in need.
- Take care of the community in which you serve. There are many who suffer disproportionately during times of crisis, so when this happens, and it will, remember to help those in the larger community in which you operate and serve. Consider donating products, services, or volunteer hours to local organizations that are serving your community.
Remember, if you take care of your employees, they will feel empowered and valued and even inspired, and be able to take care of their customers with confidence and compassion, and in turn make a better world. This is part of what David talks about in his book Taking People With You, moving from “me” to “we”. This isn’t a magical thing that will happen overnight. It will take time and work. Empathy is a way you take people with you to make those big things happen.
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