The Portrait of The Ideal Boss in Post-COVID-19
May 5, 2021
Leaders in a crisis focus on “empathy and compassion first, business second”, said Josh Bersin, founder of the largest academy on human resources. Which means, in this current stage of COVID-19, it’s the time for leaders to cultivate empathy skill.
The empathy “skill” in the new normal
According to the report of McKinsey – the world’s top management and business strategy consulting firm, one of the most noticeable impact of COVID-19 was the rapid rise of working-from-home that weakened the internal connection of enterprises for being “out of sight, out of mind”. That rolling snowball of uncertainty was pushed by pandemic news and global economic depression that surrounded employees, which tended to push their bewilderment to “alarming levels.”
Tightening the ties and bolstering employees’ trust in the company are the challenges of leaders, in which the empathy “skill” is mentioned as a master key. If empathy was just a quality that every leader should have in the past, it quickly seizes the top place in the skillset of the post-COVID-19.
Andres Angelani – a member of Forbes Councils and CEO of digital solution company Cognizant Softvision, affirmed on Forbes: “Empathy is currently a priority for businesses in 2021. To enrich empathy, leaders need to examine their lives through the lens of employees and understand, accept and champion each individual’s efforts and values by all fairness. Wherever the employees could feel that they are cared for and valued, there is empathy.”
With empathy “skill” as the business catalyst, the managers could wholly win the workforce’s hearts and minds so that they strengthen their bonds at work. “The prerequisite to make employees feel the leaders’ empathy is staying truthful. Therefore, honest communication in any activities is essential,” emphasized Ms. Nguyen Thi An Ha – Brand Development Director – HR consulting Talentnet Corporation.
The portrait of an empathetic leader
An empathetic leader – first of all – needs to be a diligent communicator who is ready to communicate and be open up to employees. Jennifer Schawalb, CPO of Ceros, said: “When the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I had an opportunity to connect with the entire staff one by one. I called 220 people in 38 days. We have to keep sales, but above all, it is to build a happy working environment for all employees in which they are constantly listened to, shared with, and continuously informed.”
According to the report “COVID-19 Trust Barometer”, 78% of respondents expect business to protect the greater communities they serve in addition to protecting their employees.3 In other words, employees highly appreciate and are willing to give loyalty to businesses that actively exercise social responsibility. A “new generation” boss not only needs to stand up to protect his or her people but also needs to have a generous heart and care for the community with timely and practical actions.
Leaders – Employees: The “win-win” relationship with the catalyst of empathy
“Win-win” situation is the principle in both business negotiation and the relationship between the leaders and employees in the workplace. Because only when both parties feel satisfied and offer mutual benefits can it be considered a sustainable relationship.
The Forbes report conducted in 2020 has indicated that 82% of people surveyed said they preferred to choose an empathetic organization. Therefore, when owning leaders with these “trendy skills,” the company efficiently promotes employment branding and attracts talents. Another study by Accenture also announced that 63% of customers would choose partners who listen to people and the community, which means that the “key” of empathy also “unlock” many opportunities for business cooperation in the new normal.
Ms. An Ha added: “It is not a coincidence that most of the winners of our Vietnam HR Awards in recent years acknowledge the cohesion and understanding between leaders and employees are the concrete foundation for effective governance. Empathy should not be just a one-way effort from the leader; instead, the company’s workforce should also learn and develop this value with colleagues and leaders. For that purpose, employees need to be constantly updated with business information and inspired through interactive activities, thereby shortening the distance between employees and boss-employee.”