4 Ways to Bring Empathy and Accountability to Your Leadership Style

Empathy is a vital ability that top leaders must have in today’s dynamic business landscape. The best leaders also grasp the value of accountability as a driving force for success. Sometimes, accountability might seem counter to empathy. However, they are not mutually exclusive. With the right leadership, empathy and accountability go hand in hand, shape thriving workplace cultures, and drive lasting success.

Unfortunately, many people think empathy is waning. Only 68 percent of HR professionals see their CEO as empathetic, according to a recent report. That’s a significant decline of 16 points from 2022.

In this blog post, we’ll look more closely at how empathy and accountability work together in leadership and offer some actionable tips to use these traits to drive success.

The Role of Empathy in Leadership

Leaders should, first and foremost, know who they are. In our recent video, How to Have Empathy and Accountability as a Leader, Matt Gonsalves, Insight Global Vice President, shared a crucial tip to becoming an empathetic and accountable leader: self-awareness.

As a leader, you need to know who you are before you can lead others. It’s important to how you and your team members connect, according to who they are and who you are. What drives you: praise, compensation, approval, or feeling appreciated? When you know this about yourself, you can better identify what motivates and drives your team members.

Empathy as a leadership skill is also necessary to identify and grasp your team’s strengths and challenges. It allows you to guide them toward meaningful growth when you understand who they are, what drives them, and why they were brought onto your team. Will they rise to challenges, meet deadlines, and drive growth? With this information, you know which team members you can count on when the going gets rough.

And when you add accountability, you can encourage growth in those struggling, helping to remove roadblocks and allowing each team member to grow, perform, and thrive.

The Role of Accountability in Leadership

As mentioned above, accountability is a natural companion to empathy in leadership. It helps ensure that your team works according to your company’s mission and vision and toward a common goal. Further, when you apply accountability to empathy, you ensure that everyone follows through on their commitments while instilling mutual respect and a sense of trust among you and the rest of the team. Ultimately, you lead team members to follow your example and hold themselves accountable.

The Synergy and Balance of Accountability and Empathy in Leadership

Strong and confident leaders hold themselves accountable for their behaviors and actions. When you understand the negative consequences of failing to meet deadlines or expectations and hold yourself accountable, you will earn your team’s trust in your leadership even more.

This creates synergy and balance between accountability and empathy in your leadership style. In these circumstances, employees are more inclined to follow your lead, remain accountable, and continue high-performing behaviors.

Leadership accountability is crucial. Without it, your company may suffer from problems, including:

  • Lack of ownership and responsibility,
  • Misalignment
  • Failure to execute strategies and initiatives

RELATED: 10 Leadership Behaviors to Be a Better Boss

How to Encourage Empathy as a Leadership Skill Using Accountability

Not only can you have a culture brimming with empathy and accountability, but it’s also what you should have. There are some ways to achieve and foster both, including the following.

1. Establish Clear Expectations

Everyone does better when they know what is expected of them, so let your team members know your expectations. You can adjust the approach and tone on a case-by-case basis, using your empathy to determine the best communication style to ensure they understand your expectations and how you expect them to deliver.

2. Learn Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

Many people live by the five love languages and lead better lives when knowing how they like to show and receive appreciation. Languages of appreciation in the workplace can achieve similar goals in your professional setting.

You and your team members may use some of the following languages of office appreciation:

  • Acts of service
  • Gifts
  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time

3. Evaluate and Adjust Your Company Culture

Examine what you as a leader and your company reward and incentivize, whether officially or unofficially. This can help you determine what your company emphasizes in importance. From there, you can incorporate empathy into your company culture.

4. Look at Situations from a New Perspective

Another description of empathy is looking at a situation or a person’s feelings from a perspective outside your own. Take time to listen to your employees, trying to understand their concerns and struggles. Invite open exchanges, exploring situations and how they might look from another team member’s perspective.

READ NEXT: 10 Reasons Why Celebrating Success (And Failure) At Work Is So Important

Integrating Empathy into Your Leadership Strategy

Would you like to connect with your team members on a deeper level to achieve your company’s goals? Integrating empathy and accountability in your leadership strategy can help you make better connections and achieve the desired results for your team, department, company, and everyone involved.

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