Empathetic leadership imperative

Empathetic leadership in the workplace is essential especially during the pandemic, as digital work is expected to continue even after the crisis.

Francis Kong, an entrepreneur and international inspirational speaker featured in many leadership conferences, urged local businesses not to commit the same mistake of certain companies in the United States which required their vaccinated workers to physically report to work after the decline in coronavirus cases, triggering mass resignations.

Kong recommended business leaders to consult their workers on this matter and then “you will have to gently require them to go back (to work).”

He said while they are already vaccinated, many of them still fear engaging themselves with their loved ones when they get home from work. They are also experiencing fatigue related to the lockdown.

“(For) business owners, do not do any(thing) heavy-handed because what will happen is our people will look at the owners as if they don’t really care for us. Making money is only important for them, that’s not a very good thing. So this is an ongoing experiment. Do not issue yet policies, do not put anything permanent as a policy on the situation that is temporary,” he said in mixed English and Filipino in a webinar.

Kong also said Generation Z is entering the workplace but there is another subset of the generation called the “pandemic generation”.

“My suggestion right now is be very, very careful when we deal with our people now, especially if we have a young staff. Our young staff are extremely emotional. They articulate a lot of things, many of which are not supported by real life experience but only based on what they read in the social media,” he said.

“The secret here now is for the leaders –leaders at this time should show empathy management,” he added.

To deal with attrition, Kong said a blended model can work.

A blended model incorporates a mixture of office and remote work in an employee’s schedule.

Meanwhile, aside from the rise of digital work, Kong identified other trends presenting new business opportunities that are projected to still happen after the pandemic.

These are breakthrough innovations, shades of gray and green, healthcare services, and life sciences, among others.

“Anything that has something to do with environment and climate crisis mitigation, the money is there,” he added. “Doctors now have new business models. It was hard to convince doctors to adapt to the digital technology and now, they have no choice. Teleconsulting and telemedicine is going to be an added revenue source for them even if their clients and their patients go back to visiting them in the clinic.”

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