Canadian Lawyer

May 2023

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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62 FEATURE BUSINESS LEADERSHIP are swept under the carpet for fear of losing jobs, and no one is prepared to signal when things might be going awry. Fortunately, I've also seen the impact that empathy shown by leaders has on the results of teams and relationships within them. We perform better in an environment in which LEADERSHIP HAS long been a dynamic dance, balancing attaining results with managing and leading people. In the c urrent era, agility and adaptability have become key skills that allow individuals, teams, and organizations to thrive. The ability of teams to move within the grey and evolve to new ways of working and collaborating requires their leaders to have a new level of skills to create a culture in which that is possible. Historically, leadership has focused on developing cognitive, logic-driven, strategic thinking that can "steer the ship" away from the rocks and into clear waters. Many have discovered along the way that without understanding what the crew need in order to pull together on the oars, and what motivates them, the rocks appear swiftly and too late for evasive action. Thriving or surviving? A 2022 Gallup survey of the global workforce found that 60 percent of people are emotionally detached from their workplace, with 19 percent being downright miserable. With our personal and professional lives copping a real shake-up over the past two years, the teams who have weathered the storm the best have been those whose members show deep support and understanding of each other. Gallup also found that engaged teams create a 23 percent higher profit than miserable teams. I've worked with some of those miserable teams. Most of them feel unseen, unsafe, and undervalued. They are in survival mode. The conversations between leadership and those on the ground are transactional, reflecting a "tell" culture (I'll tell you what to do, and you do it). No rich debate is held; there's simply fearful compliance. Leaders do not lead; they merely send out instructions and expect obedience. Mistakes The most effective leaders are those who understand the emotions that motivate their staff and help them thrive, says Tracey Ezard The value of empathy in leadership We perform better in an environment in which we are supported to be our best and feel valued as a human being, not just a role

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