Hank was angry. He couldn’t get his employees onboard with the new computer system. From his perspective, he did all the “right” things. He provided reasons for the upgrade and training to enhance efficiency, but employee resistance persisted.
In our last blog, we discussed three possible reasons behind employee resistance to change. Today, we address an essential leadership skill that relieves frustration and moves action forward in your organization.
What you resist, persists
It’s natural to focus on your employees as the problem. If only they would cooperate, deadlines would be met, customers thrilled, and progress made!
Through coaching, Hank decided to try to a different approach. What he discovered might surprise you and make you reconsider your approach to employee resistance.
The Leadership Skill That Motivates Change
Hank considered the change from his employees’ perspective. He realized he forced change without considering the impact on his employees.
When employees complain and resist change, there is often a deeper reason. It could be an event, loss, or difficulty in their personal or professional life. Empathy as a leadership skill gives you valuable insight to what’s important to your employees and their motives.
Empathy involves an emotional perspective, as you consider a situation from your employee’s point of view. When you understand what it’s like to walk in their shoes, you create better employee engagement and buy-in to change.
If you relate to Hank’s situation, ask yourself six self-reflective questions:
- How do you think your employees feel about the change?
- If you were in their position, how would you feel?
- What are you basing your above answers on? Observations? Office conversations?
- How will you get this information directly from your employees?
- Based on what you learn, what adjustments might you make in your change initiative leadership?
- How will you show empathy and still create buy in to change?
Leaders that empathize with employees’ create a culture with strong connections. Regularly asking questions about your employee’s thoughts, feelings, and needs to be successful builds strong relationships and demonstrates empathy.
In other words, as the famous saying goes “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
When Hank showed concern for his employees and listened with genuine curiosity, they shared valuable insights that helped him adjust the change initiative. Hank’s empathy heightened his employees’ willingness to have constructive conversations that led to a better course of action to learn the new computer system and make necessary adjustments.
In today’s marketplace, the most effective leaders value employees as people, aside from their job title.
If you’d like to learn more about how to develop your leadership empathy skills, book a complimentary 1-1 strategy session where we can give you ideas on where to start. We look forward to helping you be a leader who motivates change. .
Bonnie Artman Fox works with senior leaders who want to create work cultures that bring out the best in their employees, attract peak performers, and build cohesive teams. From over 25 years in the healthcare and psychology fields, she applies her expertise to coach and consult with leaders to replace behaviors that sabotage organizational health with positive behaviors that eliminate infighting, office politics, and dysfunction. To learn more or bring Bonnie to your company, let’s talk.