Empathy Is Key to Retaining Talent

Are you putting yourself in the shoes of your followers?

Summary
Transcript

In most cases, people aren’t forced to follow a leader—they choose to follow them, shares Shane Jackson, president of Jackson Healthcare. In this video, Shane explains why empathy is a must if a leader wants any followers.

“I had somebody ask me this the other day, he said, ‘What is the one skill, like if you could only choose one, that's the critical skill for leaders to have?’” shares Shane. “If I had to choose it, I think it's empathy. It's the ability to really think about and put yourself in the place of another person. Understand what they're going through, why they're reacting the way they are, what their hopes, dreams and aspirations are, what's impacting them, and all those sorts of things.”

Watch the video for more.

For most of us, people that we deal with on a day-to-day basis, and I know certainly within our company, we got highly talented people that have a lot of choices as to where they could go work. They are there voluntarily. You got to realize that, as a leader, people choose to follow you. Unless you're in the military, where, you know, you have to say, "Yes, sergeant," and do whatever they say, people are there voluntarily. They're choosing to follow you. So, why does someone choose to follow someone else?

Well, there's two factors to it. One is that I have to believe that I'm going to follow you. I have to believe that you're going somewhere that I want to go, and that you know how to get there, and that you're interested enough in me to have me go with you. That's it. "You're going the same place I am, you know what you're doing, I trust that you know what you're doing, and that you want me to be a part of that and you're interested in me doing that."

So as a leader, you've got to have clarity around where you're going or what you're trying to do so that people can know whether or not they want to go the same place that you're going. You got to have competency, you know, around what you're doing and your job and all that sort of thing. But the biggest piece and the piece that most leaders miss is having the interest in the people that are choosing to follow them to make sure they know that they want to be part of the team.

I had somebody ask me this the other day, he said, "What is the one skill, like if you could only choose one, that's the critical skill for leaders to have?" Which is like kind of a pretty unfair question. But if I had to choose it, I think it's empathy. It's the ability to really think about and put yourself in the place of another person. Understand what they're going through, why they're reacting the way they are, what their hopes, dreams, and aspirations are, what's impacting them, and all those sorts of things.

If as a leader, you feel like I really get you and I'm interested in you and I'm interested in having you be a part of the journey to this place that we're going to go together, that creates really rich relationships. Unique relationships, friendships maybe, but a unique relationship with people who are part of a team and someone that's choosing to follow the leader.
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Shane Jackson

Shane Jackson is president of Jackson Healthcare, a family of 17 companies and 1,300 associates specializing in temporary and permanent healthcare staffing. Since taking the role in 2013, he has consistently led the nearly $1 billion ...

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