A recent study showed 57 percent of employees quit because of their boss. Another 14 percent have left multiple jobs because of their managers and an additional 32 percent have seriously considered leaving because of their manager. “This suggests companies could be looking in the wrong place as they search for opportunities to attract, retain and grow talent,” says Carina Parisella, Workforce Tribe Leader at ANZ.
Parisella cites a Google study, Project Aristotle, on building the perfect team that proved human bonds matter as much at work as anywhere else. “The behaviors that create psychological safety — conversational turn-taking and empathy — are part of the same unwritten rules we often turn to as individuals when we need to establish a bond,” the study found. “And those human bonds matter as much at work as anywhere else. In fact, they sometimes matter more.”
While some may think an empathic, approachable leader cannot be strong and bold, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in her book Leading With Empathy, emphasizes her desire to lead with kindness: “I think one of the sad things that I’ve seen in political leadership is – because we’ve placed over time so much emphasis on notions of assertiveness and strength – that we probably have assumed that it means you can’t have those other qualities of kindness and empathy. And yet, when you think about all the big challenges that we face in the world, that’s probably the quality we need the most.”
The same holds true for business leaders. “Work is a big part of our lives [and] being happy and whole at work means I am truly living”, says Parisella. “If you can spread a bit of kindness and joy at work, then do it – the evidence tells us that performance and productivity will only increase.”
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