Paramita Bhattacharya is pretty comfortable saying things will never go back to normal. She emphasizes that empathy and compassion in leadership are here to stay. Paramita does not doubt that prioritizing safety and well-being and caring for employees, customers, vendors, and partners will remain.
Employee communication will become a key objective pillar. A lot of data is showing that taking care of your people increases productivity. It’s an established pillar of leadership.
The other thing Paramita is seeing is that business clarity is being asked of leaders. That will become the norm. You have to clarify the direction you’re taking. You must clarify where people need to go. What shouldn’t be done anymore? Prioritization will be critical. As a leader, you have to clearly communicate priorities.
Balancing empathy with resiliency
Empathy and understanding are here to stay. But many leaders struggle with balancing that against building resiliency in their team. You have to be able to be empathetic yet still be able to say, “You can handle this—let’s go.” Paramita is quick to note that empathy isn’t coddling. Compassionate leadership is leadership where your EQ and IQ run together to understand where the team is.
Any leader needs the best out of their team. It takes a mix of multiple things. You need to be very in touch with your teams. Let’s say your teams work hard over the 60 days leading up to the holidays. What can you plan to help them get through that time? How would you enable it to happen without the business falling apart?
Business agility and marketing agility
Paramita looks at business agility and marketing resiliency. Everything from resourcing and becoming nimble with what you can do in-house and what must be outsourced. Can you upscale marketing talent with data and analytics?
It’s not in conflict with empathetic leadership to know your marketing team needs upscaling of talent. You must address the objectives you’re laying in front of them. It’s critical to recognize that you have to make the right kind of investment. Part of the game plan is having a much more awareness-driven and compassionate approach.
People are going through what they’re going through. How can you compromise in the right places? How can you build resiliency to magnify the impact of compassion? If you give your people the right things, the right talents and skills, you’re doing things right for them and you will benefit.
Don’t send your ducks to eagle school
Should you build a team from within? Or outsource and build a team from outside of your company? I’ve heard it said that “You don’t make good people, you find good people and make them better.”
Paramita believes that some people are just not a fit. If you’re a compassionate leader, you’ll recognize this quickly. You’re doing the right thing if you take the right kind of action with these people. You’re not doing anyone favors by keeping them in the wrong role.
As a leader, it’s critical to recognize, but admittedly it’s difficult. I recently heard someone say, “Don’t send your ducks to eagle school.” You can’t have a team of all eagles or all ducks. Each person plays a significant role. A-team and B-team isn’t terminology Paramita uses. She looks at different levels of skillsets on the teams. There are also different levels of maturity, attitude, and expertise.
What if you set goals for their development? Paramita shares the example that her goal is that everyone should be proficient with Tableau. So what kind of expertise is she looking for? What percentage of the team has the expertise to be excellent data analytics reporters? Maybe that percentage is enough for the team. She doesn’t need everyone to be the same.
To learn more about building a resilient team while being an empathetic leader, how to track the right data, and how to strategize content creation, listen to episode #36 of the Content Callout podcast!