image Three ways warmth and empathy can help leaders cope with low performing staff

Have you ever noticed those leaders in your organisation whose teams seem to fly high and consistently produce spectacular results? What about those who seem to have trouble-free teams or staff who who have good relationships with each other? Do you ever wonder how that is or how certain leaders and their teams manage to thrive, while others crumble at the first sign of trouble? The simple explanation is that these are people have simply unlocked their Emotional Intelligence and because they have done this they have managed to create and maintain high performing and stress free teams. They didn’t get there by magic though, they learned to tune into themselves and other people. And you can do this too.

So imagine this scenario. You have a team member who is performing below par, for example, arriving at work later then everyone else, being carried by the rest of the team, contributing very little to the team or, God forbid, all three. If you want to be an emotionally intelligent leader here are a few things you could do:

Take Notice

Here is where you raise your empathy, especially before you even call them into your office. Check with yourself if this is normal behaviour for that person or if it is out of character. If you notice that this is normal behaviour, maybe this is the way this person works and knows no other way of working. If it is out of character there may be something else going on in their life that you may not be aware of. They may be overwhelmed because of these things. How might you feel or react if you were in their shoes?

Offer Warmth

When you raise your self-expression you start to pay attention to the way you may come across to this staff member. Focus on you physiology, such as what your body is doing in that moment you decide to call that person into your office. Are you relaxed or tense? Are your lips pursed or teeth clenched? How do you imagine your facial expression is? How do you hope to come across?

When that staff member is about to come through the door welcome them with open arms and smile, and keep that positive expression consistent . Your body language can make all the difference here. I have seen it where a poorly performing staff member, who was previously high performing, was being welcomed into her line-manager’s room with open arms and a smile. As soon as the door shut her manager, also a woman, ripped into her. This woman burst into tears, then a couple of months later she resigned. Her line manager showed the ugly side of leadership, in my opinion. Low empathy and low self-expression = Ugly Leadership. Please don’t let that be you and remember that there is always a way to turn things around before tempers become frayed.

Think about the Desired Outcome

This is where you focus on the solution and raise the decision making factor of your emotional intelligence. The desired outcome is a really important thing to consider here because, unless you don’t care about the environment you work in or its people, you will strive for a good outcome for both parties or, in other words, a win win. What will the desired outcome involve? That is your call really, but if you want a positive outcome be clear about what will be discussed, your concerns, and make sure that the person you are talking with knows it is a safe environment for them to express what they need to express. When they are in their flow let them continue until they stop and keep any interruptions to their flow to an absolute minimum. See things as they really are for that person and hear them out. If you do have to interrupt them, do it with questions for clarification or to gain better understanding. Do your best to offer help and support for them to be more effective as people and to function well, such as guidance, training or pointing in the right direction.

Look out for some webinars and one day workshops coming your way in the new year!

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