5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Right now, you need to practice social — not emotional -— distancing. Amid the ever-changing chaos, your team deserves an empathetic leader who deeply understands what individual people are going through. Making the right managerial and executive decisions are challenging enough during good times — and even harder amid a global pandemic.
Having lived and worked around the world, I cannot think of a more necessary time for empathy. The playing field has changed for the foreseeable future. Unless you adopt empathetic leadership principles quickly, you may find yourself the captain of a sinking ship filled with crew members suffering from analysis paralysis and traumatic shock.
Related: 3 Ways Increasing Your Empathy Makes You a More Effective Leader
You may already be familiar with the value of empathy in leadership, at least on a theoretical level. The Wall Street Journal notes that roughly one in five organizations provides soft-skill training opportunities for staff to learn the art of leading with empathy. If you’ve been through a similar workshop, you might not have realized how important that training was until now.
Difficult situations reveal why empathy is important in leadership, and crises like COVID-19 drive the lesson home. Teams led by people who possess high emotional intelligence tend to work hard and persevere through rough patches. They also develop deeper bonds of trust, which are essential when employment statuses seem all too fragile.
Right now, plenty of workers are dealing with tremendous fear. Those guided by empathetic leaders will likely have an easier time working through their stresses, while others operating under a “business as usual” manager may become disengaged and resentful. Make no mistake: Leaders will be judged by how they react during this historic moment. Of course, leading with empathy is not an innate ability. Even if you have a high emotional intelligence quotient, you may need a refresher course in empathy and leadership. Here are a few strategies to practice:
To attune yourself to your team’s feelings, you must get in touch with your own emotions and understand how to express them. Marc Benioff, the head of Salesforce, showed signs of empathy when he tweeted his eight-point plan for dealing with the coronavirus. Point seven asked every CEO to wait 90 days before resorting to layoffs. If you have to furlough personnel, be graceful and compassionate about it. Don’t coldly layoff 95 percent of your employees via a video like Cirque du Soleil did at the start of the crisis, a decision that garnered negative attention.
Take time to recognize and express your emotions as well as help your team work through their fears. Add a daily reminder in your calendar or phone to stay grounded. That little “ping” will remind you to reflect every day on what you’re feeling and what’s going on. In time, you will be able to tune in emotionally without a physical reminder.
Related: Does Empathy Have a Place in Your Workplace?
The only way your team will be vulnerable with you during this difficult period is if you learn to listen without judgment. Leading with empathy often involves saying nothing at all and sometimes agreeing that you are sad, confused or angry, too. According to work published in The Journal of Behavioral Science, 70 percent of successful people say they feel like imposters from time to time. Imagine how refreshing it would be for your team members to hear that you also struggle and will not use their feelings against them.
One caveat: Don’t allow yourself or your team to wallow too long in sessions focused on negative emotions. Instead, enable honest discussions and then pivot the conversation toward positive solutions. However, be aware of the language you use when you want to refocus your team. For example, in English, we tend to use “I feel” when we really mean “I think.” If you say, “I feel like you all need to get back to work,” then you are telling your team what to do, not empathizing. Consider your words carefully after team members open up; you want them to feel heard, not ignored, when you gently move the conversation in an optimistic direction.
Now is not the moment to assume you know everything bothering your team. Ask employees, “What keeps you up at night?” Their answers may surprise you. Seem a little touchy-feely? Maybe. But your team members will hear your words as an indicator of your interest. Salesforce’s report “The Impact of Equality and Values Driven Business” reveals that when leaders pay attention to their employees’ needs, the employees are 4.6 times more apt to produce stellar work.
Related: Successful Leadership Tactics in a Time of Crisis
You may discover that getting to know team members on a deeper level helps you notice when they’re not on their A-games. If you see someone struggling, intervene before their work completely falls apart. Part of the importance of empathy in leadership is being able to provide emotional guidance and encouragement that will help everyone develop personally and professionally.
Uncertain times call for unparalleled leaders. Show your humanity with a heavy dose of empathetic leadership. Empathy will not only motivate your team through crisis, but it will help you deal with your own conflicted feelings, too.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay has been elected to the film academy’s Board of Governors for the first time.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its new members Wednesday, which include the “Selma” filmmaker, “A Star is Born” producer Lynette Howell Taylor and casting director Debra Zane. The academy has increased the number of women and people of color on the board.
Incumbent governors reelected include Whoopi Goldberg, “Dolemite Is My Name” screenwriter Larry Karaszewski and Participant Media CEO David Linde among others.
The organization that puts on the Oscars said that the number of women on the 54-person board has gone from 25 to 26 and people of color from 11 to 12.
The Board of Governors represent each of the academy’s 17 branches and work to set the organization’s strategy, finances and “fulfillment of its mission.”
DuVernay, who was nominated for her documentary “13th,” has been an active and vocal member of the film academy for years. She recently backed up David Oyelowo’s assertion that members of the academy threated to squash “Selma’s” awards chances after they wore T-shirts with the words “I Can’t Breathe” to the film’s New York premiere in 2014 in honor of Eric Garner.
The academy responded on Twitter condemning the threats, writing, “Ava & David, we hear you. Unacceptable. We’re committed to progress.”
The Oscars this year are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the pandemic. In April, over a month after theaters closed and a number of film festivals were cancelled as a safety precaution, the Academy announced revised eligibility requirements for this year, allowing movies that debuted on a streaming service to be considered for an Oscar.
Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson told the AP at the time that their response to COVID-19 will continue to be fluid. No decisions have been made yet as to plans for the annual Governors Awards, which are typically held in the fall in Los Angeles. And at the moment the 93rd Academy Awards are still a go, set for Feb. 28, 2021, in Los Angeles.
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3 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Market ups and downs, emotional ups and downs, working from home, and a recession has caused many companies and individuals to have feelings of uncertainty, fear, and doubt. This is a natural reaction. But how do we overcome these feelings and move forward?
Brigham Tomco is the CEO of Emmersion Learning. He shared with me some keen insights on how to overcome these recent challenges.
Related: Prepare for the Worst, Hoping for the Best
“I learned many life lessons growing up as a competitive athlete,” Tomco said. “A recurring message from my coaches that I heard through the years when my teams were struggling, in a slump or overmatched was ‘stick to the fundamentals’ or ‘get back to the basics.’ Uncertainty and turmoil often cause us to forget or abandon what brought us success in the first place. At the time when we need stability the most, our inclination is to try something new instead of sticking to what we know works.”
Brigham played football college. On day one of his “two-a-days,” the defensive coordinator introduced him to EDDs — also known as Every Day Drills. He explained that after warmups each day, the team would divide into their position groups and work on the same set of drills every day so that they would master and maintain the fundamentals. And wouldn’t you know it? The team got really good at those fundamentals. They became part of each player’s subconscious and helped the entire team through adversity.
Related: How Your Small Business Can Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic
I think of the EDDs in my life that give me strength and stability.
When life gets busy and stressful, I forget to do these things. In reality, our EDDs must be done every day and need to take priority.
I believe that my EDDs for my personal life are also essential to my success as an entrepreneur and CEO. If I don’t stick to my fundamentals in my personal life, it has a negative impact on my ability to thrive as a leader. In business, there is an additional set of EDDs that I think is important to success.
Related: 4 Surprising Silver Linings to COVID-19
I find that as the inevitable peaks and valleys of life come, I find strength, peace, and success by sticking to the fundamentals.
Brigham reminds us that in these challenging times, the basics of both our personal and business lives are essential to keeping us grounded and successful. Let’s not allow COVID-19 to break us down, but rather see it as an opportunity to recenter, refocus and recommit to the simple EDD’s that brought us to where we are today and can take us where we want to go.
Elon Musk’s Loop transportation project is gaining a little bit more momentum in Las Vegas.
Less than a month ago, Musk’s tunnel company Boring Co. said it had finished digging a pair of tunnels that will link the Las Vegas Convention Center buildings. Now, two Las Vegas Strip hotels are making a bid to be part of the planned transit network.
Wynn Resorts and Genting Group submitted applications to authorities in Clark County, Nevada, to connect their hotels to the convention center via Musk’s underground tunnels. Last month, Musk previewed the effort, tweeting “Boring Co. will also connect Vegas hotels & airport.” A spokesman for McCarran International Airport said there were no current plans to develop a Loop there.
Genting Group’s Resorts World Las Vegas, whose hotel complex is under construction and is slated to open next year, said it expected construction on its section of the Loop tunnel system would begin later this year, pending approval by county commissioners. The Wynn said in a statement emailed to reporters that it expected travel time to the convention center would take less than two minutes, but didn’t say when it expected the project to start.
A spokeswoman for Resorts World said fares would be affordable but hadn’t been finalized, and declined to give a figure for the overall cost of the project. A spokeswoman for the Wynn said it was premature to confirm additional details. The Boring Co. didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Like the convention center, both hotels are located in unincorporated Las Vegas, which means they can bypass city approvals because they are not technically within city limits. Last year, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who sits on the board of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, cited Boring Co.’s lack of experience and opposed the project, but was outvoted by the other board members.