Empathy and compassion are crucial skills for leaders. By being empathetic and compassionate, you can show your team members that you are aware of what they are facing and that you care about what they are going through.

As the world continues to navigate the pandemic, it is more important than ever to unite as a team and compassionately guide your sales reps. Executive coach and author, Joel Garfinkle, says that when you learn to lead with compassion, you can dramatically increase trust and unity.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Garfinkle’s guidance for developing and exuding compassionate leadership.

Tune in emotionally to your team members. If you want to know how your sales reps are faring, start by noticing their body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. Garfinkle says you can make yourself more available to them by using open body language and eye contact.

Welcome honest communication. People on your team may be experiencing stress you know nothing about. Encourage them to express their emotions if they feel it would help them. According to Garfinkle, when your team members share and process their feelings, they can better support each other.

Make room for one-on-one communication. Not everyone on your team will feel comfortable sharing their feelings in a group setting. That’s why Garfinkle says leaders should approach those sales reps who may prefer a more private conversation. Ask your team members to share their concerns with you individually. Be sure to practice active listening and ask thoughtful questions so you can better understand their worries.

Be vulnerable yourself. You are a leader, but you are also a human. Garfinkle says leaders should have the courage to show vulnerability rather than trying to come off as invincible. Show up as your whole self to be a truly compassionate leader.

Learn to read between the lines. The best leaders have a high emotional IQ. They understand their own emotions and they have a high level of empathy for their team members. Garfinkle says you should also know how to dig deeper if someone on your team gets upset about something trivial. Get to the heart of what is really on this person’s mind. They may be fearful about something much bigger. When you can better understand their viewpoint, you can provide the best guidance and support.

Listen closely. To lead with compassion and empathy, you must listen attentively when your team members confide in you. Ask them what challenges they are currently facing, whether that is caring for older parents or working remotely while their kids are home.

Get creative with your solutions. Think about the resources that would most help your sales reps. Could they benefit from a stress-management webinar or a training on dealing with ambiguity? Look for ways to provide tangible resources to help your team members overcome their challenges.

Compassion is a skill that is well worth cultivating, especially now. If you want to lead compassionately, start with the tips above. Remember to create a culture that encourages open communication and tune in to each of your individual team members. You will serve your team—and your organization—well by learning to lead with empathy and compassion.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 leadership coaches in the U.S. As an executive coach, he has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Amazon and Starbucks. Garfinkle is the author of seven books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level.