My female friends have jobs of every type and with that comes bosses of every type. Some are struggling to pretend that they don’t have a family while their boss pushes them for more zoom meetings. Few have bosses who understand the unprecedented tasks that we are being asked to do. When I speak to young women about leadership, I always harp on compassion and empathy, two valuable soft skills that can make the difference in a work environment. I’ve seen a lot of articles in popular publications about creating work environments that make people want to succeed and not just feel like another cog in the wheel. The fact of the matter is that an employee who feels heard and appreciated will work hard for their company. The pandemic has exposed those environments that haven’t grasped this concept.
When this pandemic began, I was 9 months pregnant with two kids now at home and sharing an office with my husband. It’s a familiar tale. Yet somehow, we made it work and my boss, Kim never missed a beat in making sure that we felt comfortable without tearing our hair out and still getting the job done.
Not only did I feel comfortable but these unprecedented times came with an increase in worried clients. The market didn’t really change anything for us but clients felt like it might. Enter empathy. We spent countless hours on the phone reassuring clients who had no need to worry. When your core values are about more than just the bottom line, it’s obvious. It is about the relationship. Life is about the relationship and Kim knows this. She genially enjoys nurturing the relationship so that everyone feels comfortable and wants to be there.
Not only does it make me want to stay but our clients as well. At last count, 40 million people are out of a job and countless more wishing their bosses were more understanding of the crazy circumstances families are facing. Good leadership is lacking and workplaces will suffer because of it. If I have learned one thing during this pandemic it’s that we need compassion and if you find a work place that has it, pay it forward.