Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “Becoming The Most Powerful and Confident You”
In the past several years, with the deep challenges that the COVID pandemic presented, along with economic hardships, extreme demands at work and at home, workforce reductions and more, it’s become ever clearer that leaders have needed to revise the way they communicate, manage, and strategize. One of the key shifts required has been an increased focus on empathy in the workplace.
Empathetic leadership has been described as having the ability to understand the needs of others, being aware of their feelings and thoughts and communicating that understanding in respectful ways that foster an experience of belonging and trust. Empathy has also been shown to have a direct impact on encouraging motivation, commitment, engagement and innovation, as empathy supports individuals to feel safe and supported, and a part of something bigger than themselves.
Yet so many leaders are still failing to rise to the challenge. And that failure is causing a serious negative impact that can no longer be ignored.
To learn more about this important trend and why empathy matters for workplace success and organizational health, I caught up this month with Raj Sharma, Ernst & Young (EY) Americas Vice Chair for Consulting. He is a global business executive and transformative technology leader with over 25 years of experience in commercial and financial services, building businesses and executing strategic growth initiatives. In his role, Sharma leads 25,000 consultants across the Americas service line.
EY Consulting recently surveyed more than 1,000 employed U.S. workers to examine how empathy affects leaders, employees, and operations in the workplace. The 2023 EY US Empathy in Business Survey found empathetic leadership is a desired attribute but many employees feel it can be disingenuous when not paired with action. This second report highlights that empathy in the workplace drives psychological safety and fosters an experiential culture that allows for experimental failure to generate learning and new ideas.
Sharma shares details about the EY study, what it reveals, and why that’s vitally important for leaders today:
Kathy Caprino: Raj, please describe this study on Empathy and why EY engaged in it.