Empathy at Work: Ideas for HR Advisors to Train Leaders to Lead with Heart

Working in HR, you play an essential role in helping leaders in your organisation develop critical skills like empathy. Empathetic leadership is so important for building positive relationships, improving collaboration, and creating a supportive work environment. 

Today I wanted to share with you some ideas to help you train leaders to lead with empathy:

A great starting point is conducting a needs assessment, this will help you to understand where your leaders stand in terms of their current level of empathy, where the gaps are, and what training they need to become more empathetic.

Be open with your teams before any training starts, share with them things like research on the benefits of empathy and the connection between empathy and employee engagement, productivity, and retention forms. I always find an open and honest approach is more likely to gain engagement and make the training much more successful. 

I love interactive sessions when I lead training, I find bringing it to life with real stories of where leaders who have led with empathy have succeeded. Make it relatable and help illustrate the benefits of empathy and provide practical examples of how leaders can implement it in the workplace.

Variety is the spice of life and all that, so keep your training programs fresh by including training on active listening, emotional intelligence, and other skills that are essential for developing empathy.

I find role-playing exercises can be a useful tool in helping leaders develop too. These exercises can simulate real-world scenarios, giving leaders the opportunity to practice their skills in a safe, controlled environment. 

Provide opportunities for feedback and encourage employees to provide feedback on leaders’ communication style, listening skills, and overall approach to managing others. I encourage teams to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or reprisal. This can take some time to come to life and must be lead from the top, leading by example shows actions speak louder than words. By encouraging leaders to demonstrate the behaviour they want to see in others in the team, this will create a culture of empathy across the business. 

As I’m sure you’ve picked up in this blog, leadership development is an area that I’m passionate about, it really lights me up seeing others reach their potential and being a part of that journey is precious. It’s definitely one of the most enjoyable parts of the HR role for me and brings me so much joy. That’s why I’ve dedicated a whole section on the platform to leadership development, it’s packed with lots of useful and practical resources to help you guide the leaders of the future to a more positive and impactful place. Check it out for yourself here!

Empathy at Work: Ideas for HR Advisors to Train Leaders to Lead with Heart