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posted by Kim Benedict on Monday, 23 February 2015
posted by Kim Benedict on Sunday, 15 February 2015
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Relevant Musings

Current thoughts on leadership.

Tag: Manager

Leaders with Empathy

"Successful leaders lead with the heart, not just the head. They possess qualities like empathy, compassion and courage. They also have the ability to establish deep, long-term and genuine relationships where others trust them.” ~Bill George

 

What is the definition of empathy? According to Merriam Webster dictionary, it’s the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions, or the ability to share someone else's feelings

Empathy doesn’t mean you have to agree with your employees 100% of the time, but to have the ability to comprehend what they are going through. There are benefits from being able to understand what those around us need, as opposed to what we perceive is required.

Successful leaders take the time to understand the needs of their employees and offer the support they need when dealing with workplace challenges or issues. In doing so, leaders can build a sense of trust, thereby strengthening the relationships they have with their employees and consequently, the relationships employees have with one another, leading to greater collaboration and improved productivity.

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Obligation or Opportunity?

I was delighted to be part of the Building Champions conference for the MN Chief Engineers Guild last week in St Cloud. Our conversation centered on character traits that effective leaders display. I tossed out a thought that got a few folks thinking and I'm wondering what you all think. A few years back a Dateline episode shared data from a study that left me reeling. Their survey was asking, "how many close friends do you have?" Friends that, if needed, could come to your aid in an emergency. 25% of the respondents said they had zero. Zero people they could turn to. The next 50% said they had one or two people they could call. I was stunned! And, I felt incredibly blessed when I realized I had several people I could call, in a heartbeat, if needed. My point to the group in sharing this study information, was as managers we may not have any legal obligation to befriend our employees. But, as leaders, we have unending opportunity to engage with employees who, if we do befriend them, are much more likely to engage with us - as their leader and possibly as their friend. Now, I have a long history in employee management and HR so I can guess what some of you might be thinking ... but rather than assume, I'd rather ask you. Do you see the opportunity? Or do you only feel the obligation? Share your thoughts, thx!
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