When it comes to being a leader, empathy is of the utmost importance. Empathy allows us to understand how another person is feeling by putting ourselves in their shoes, which is vital when leading a team. Your team will likely not follow you if you can’t see things from their perspective. If you’re empathetic toward your team, they’ll be more receptive to you, which can lead to building trust and eventually better overall performance. But how can you tell if you have an empathetic leader, or if you are one? Here are a few habits that are commonly seen in empathetic leaders.

They’re Fully Present

As a leader, it’s important to make sure you’re always fully present when speaking with your team. Treat them as you might treat one of your clients. You’ll want to make sure any distractions, such as your phone or laptop, aren’t going to take you away from whatever the situation is. Think about how you would want to be treated if you were in their position, and then do the same.

They Pay Attention To Non-Verbal Communication

Communication is so much more than just words. A leader who is highly empathetic is typically able to spot the non-verbal cues that their team gives off and then react appropriately. They may see that a member of their team is extremely tense, or maybe they’ve been crying. Where a lot of people may choose to mind their own business and let the upset team member handle it in their own way, an empathetic leader would likely choose to try and talk with them about it. They may ask them to explain what’s going on, and why they’re feeling the way they do. Even if they choose not to confide in their leader, it tells them that they are able to share how they’re feeling openly without having to worry about being criticized for it.

They Strive To Tackle Challenges As a Team

When leading a team, there are often moments when team members will go to you to talk about the ways in which they’re struggling. They may feel like they’re alone in this, and that’s why they’ve come to you. A highly empathetic leader would help them realize that they’re not alone in their problems and that they can work together to figure things out. One way of doing this is by changing your language to use words like “we” and “us” instead of “me” or “I”. By changing your language to say things such as “We’ll get through this” as opposed to “you’ll get through this”, you can get a better idea of how to interpret other’s feelings and behaviors while also showing your team member that you share the same goals.

Sometimes being a highly empathetic leader is challenging, but it’s also vital if you want to run a business to the best of its ability. If you’re trying to better your empathy skills, take a look at some of these and see if you already act that way.