It was a year when the spotlight was not on sales targets but leaders who demonstrated the right levels of empathy. As a leader one often walks the tight rope of getting business done and being an understanding human being. Corporate world usually lays emphasis on chasing EBIDTA and top line growth. In the process, it is easy to forget that there is a human being at the other end. When I reflect, I think about the interactions I have had, the most meaningful ones are those where we have heard each other out and seen things from another’s perspective.
Empathy is not the ‘switch on switch off’ quality that triggers only when you realize that somebody is going through a problem but one that stays consistent even in their day-to-day work.
Empathetic leadership builds strong teams. You become agile and begin to nurture the next generation. You stay connected all the time and are able to help people with life struggles, not just work struggles.
Empathy triggers innovation. You begin to understand what people go through, identify the core issues and that gives you a higher ability to innovate, and find solutions for the real problems.
Empathy helps better decision-making. You learn to treat your biases and become sharper about how people would react to your decisions.
Empathy inspires loyalty - people working for people, working together for a unified purpose. When leaders and their teams begin to relate to each other, it triggers the highest levels of responsiveness in the organization. I have seen projects where the teams are in sync, working for a unified cause without biases - the energy, the impact and the joy is at another level. It is this culture that we would like to nurture at Cipla.
Empathy starts with truly listening to what people are saying. It is a two-way communication. Especially over the last year, we extensively engaged with Ciplaites through various forums and derived insightful learnings through these interactions. Leaders or not, we should all strive to be empathetic. Afterall it is what will help us together navigate these uncertain times and tide over to a future of health & hope.
“Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world” – Barack Obama