Recent research has found that empathy is the most important skill for leaders. It helps with many aspects including staff retention and innovation, creating an environment for performance, happiness and engagement.

It helps combat the effects of stress – Our worlds have been turned upside down by the COVID period and its fair to say that in some instances this has created additional stress.

Empathy contributes to positive outcomes – Empathy can help with innovation, engagement, retention, inclusivity and work-life.

Leaders can demonstrate empathy by simply considering someone else’s thoughts eg what would I be thinking if I way in this position. They can also consider someone else’s feelings eg what would I be feeling if I were in this position. Finally by asking questions about the difficulties and then really listening to the answers to learn.

It’s clear that the changes over the past 18 months or so have led to many different ways of working and that whilst there are many positives, there are many people that have been more effected. A leader with empathy will be able to develop an environment for performance, happiness and engagement which will drive import areas such as innovation.