IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

IWD 2022: Leading during uncertain times - the rising importance of empathy

By Contributor
Tue 8 Mar 2022

Article by Cloudera APAC senior director of marketing, Gabrielle Cichero.

We’re currently witnessing one of the greatest shifts in workplace culture in history. The ‘control and command’ leadership approach born after World War II is fading as more leaders march to a new ‘heart’ beat using the power of ‘soft skills’ to keep in step with employee needs and drivers of today. 

McKinsey Global Institute finds that the number of people in the global labour force will reach 3.5 billion by 2030. This, combined with the mass move to remote work, results in workplaces needing to accommodate a changing range of skills, attitudes, cultures, and behaviours.  

I’ve been lucky enough to have led APAC-wide teams for several years and have seen shifts in leadership even prior to COVID-19. It’s easy to only consider globalisation, but we’re also working across different generations - a 20-year-old digital native in India is very different from a 60-year-old in India who started their career before the internet was born.

For leaders to thrive in today’s environment, they must be willing to exhibit and value core qualities of empathy, trust, and curiosity. When we’re able to truly make the most of a diverse team, when we’re more open to new ideas, we can significantly improve the employee experience and strengthen the entire organisation.

Soft skills: Empathy, trust, and curiosity

In the past, being a team leader or manager was about command and control. Today, a true leader helps employees discover untapped strengths and potential and align that with business goals. It’s about being very clear about the destination and understanding that everyone’s path is different. 

Empathy has never been more relevant than in the last two years. It’s not about being nice; it’s about taking the time to be with a person fully and truly listening to them. Doing so really builds trust and enjoyment in their working environment. Soft skills can spell the difference between success and failure between workers and their employer, and in the time of the great resignation, that impact is critical.

More businesses are recognising the role of empathy in the workplace. A whitepaper by the Centre of Creative Leadership found that empathy is positively correlated to job performance. Managers who show more empathy toward their teams are viewed as better performers in their job by their bosses. Additionally, empathic emotion, as rated by employees, positively predicts job performance ratings from the leader’s boss.

This whitepaper also highlighted a fact that I’ve found to be true in my own experience: that empathy can be learned. Leaders can develop and enhance their skills in this space through coaching, training, or developmental opportunities and initiatives. Self-awareness is critical to this development.

Grant Thornton’s 2021 International Business Report research highlights the emergence of empathy as a valued leadership trait. Among mid-market business leaders who grew their staff numbers by at least 5% in 2020, empathy was more consistently important than the global average, with 25% citing it as a key leadership skill. 

Empathy in action

Engaging in empathetic leadership can consist of simple practises. For instance, it can be actively listening when on a video call, with the camera turned on, minimising potential distractions, or acknowledging important celebrations or milestones.

We also frequently underestimate the role of technology in aiding our leaders to be more tuned in and empathetic. For example, data is helping to create better, healthier and more open relationships with employees. 
 
One of our customers, Indonesia’s Bank Mandiri, uses data to track employee health. The bank used its data lake to feed a real-time dashboard that tracked employee health, leading to better support for employees. With information on staff working locations and health status across all branches and regions, the bank was able to ensure employee safety as well as business continuity.

This accentuates how data can be used to build a greater understanding of how employees are doing. This lends itself to establishing or extending health and wellbeing initiatives or simply opening conversations.

Goal setting in a pandemic

We’ve also found that it’s been easier to lose track of goals during the last two years. At Cloudera, we’ve become much better at setting and tracking both personal and shared business goals. We’ll talk to our people and ask them what their plans are for the future, where they want to be in the coming year or two and what matters to them in their work.

We can then align this to the broader business goals to empower our workforce. Goal setting is one way we deliberately build gratitude and a sense of service within the team and have that human touch and conversation. 

We’re also big on leading by example. Acknowledging failure is not a core part of many Asian cultures, so as a leader in the APAC region, it’s important to recognise failure and learnings in an honest way and create a safe place to do so, especially when encouraging innovation.

Another example is committing to ‘unplugged days’ where my fellow managers and I leave our computers and phones off to take time for ourselves. We actively encourage our team to do the same. Finally, we’re always focused on exhibiting empathy, curiosity, trust, and vulnerability within our leadership team to create a powerful reference point for our teams. 

Conclusion

With more people experiencing personal hardship, mental health issues, ambiguity and reconsidering their lives, this year requires more leaders to step up and become a mentor, guide and inspiration to those around them.

We do this by being honest and vulnerable and living core qualities and soft skills through key touchpoints. As a result, we will be able to move through this time and engage in growth and innovation by putting people first and being delighted by the rich rewards.

Article by Cloudera APAC senior director of marketing, Gabrielle Cichero.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Sustainability
SoftIron named global leader for efficient DC infrastructure solutions
SoftIron has been named a global leader for supplying energy-efficient data infrastructure solutions for core-to-edge data centers after an assessment by Earth Capital Ltd.
Story image
Ponemon Institute
Email revealed to be riskiest channel for data loss
More than half (60%) of organisations experienced data loss or exfiltration caused by an employee mistake on email in the last 12 months.
Story image
Rackspace
Skills shortages hold orgs back from capitalising on cloud 2.0
Organisations are becoming more comfortable with sophisticated 'cloud 2.0' technologies, even as they confront difficulties in hiring and retaining IT talent.
Story image
DaaS
NetApp launches Spot PC, a new Desktop-as-a-Service solution
This is a new managed cloud DaaS solution with security, automation, observability and optimisation capabilities, designed for the needs of today.
Story image
CrescoData
SPS network now available to CrescoData eCommerce customers
CrescoData, a Pitney Bowes Company and PaaS business in the commerce space, says its customers can now connect to the SPS Commerce Retail Network.
Story image
ChildFund
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
GapMaps
GapMaps Live to improve brand decisions on physical locations
GapMaps has released its latest service GapMaps Live, giving more insights and features to help brands make better decisions about physical locations.
Story image
New Relic
New Relic launches vulnerability management platform
New Relic has introduced New Relic Vulnerability Management to help organisations find and address security risks faster and with greater precision.
Story image
Digital Signage
MAXHUB's Digital Signage range to bolster boardroom productivity
The new MAXHUB Digital Signage technology is purpose-built to make every kind of team meeting more effective.
Story image
Surveillance
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
SpaceX
Australian space tech startup secures SpaceX support
Space Machines Company has secured the support of SpaceX as a launch partner in carrying SMC's Optimus Orbital Transfer Vehicle to space next year.
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Comcast to use ThreatQuotient for cybersecurity operations
Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal and SKY Group, has chosen ThreatQ Platform and ThreatQ Investigations to meet their cybersecurity needs.
Story image
Sustainability
Aligned Data Centers increases sustainability-linked loan
Aligned Data Centers has increased its sustainability-linked loan from $375 million to $1.75 billion to speed up the next phase of its strategic growth.
Story image
Broadband
Telstra enters into new RSP agreement with Opticomm
Telstra has entered into an RSP agreement with Opticomm (A Uniti Group Limited subsidiary) to provide network fibre services to customers.
Story image
Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile now makes up over 7% of Aussie prepaid market
Boost Mobile has doubled its market share over the past four years and now has more than 7% of Australia's prepaid market, equivalent to over 700,000 people.
Story image
Remote Working
Australia’s remote workers face connectivity and security issues
SOTI's new report finds better video conferencing technology and improved security measures are top concerns for remote workers in Australia.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Getty Images delves into the world of NFTs with Candy Digital
Getty Images and Candy Digital, the next-generation digital collectible company, have announced a new multi-year partnership agreement.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Similarweb acquires SEO and rank tracking company Rank Ranger
Digital intelligence company Similarweb, which specialises in analysing web traffic, has acquired Rank Ranger, a market leader in SEO and rank tracking.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
Sustainability
Equinix announces milestones on sustainability commitments
Equinix has released its 2021 Sustainability Report which outlines progress, innovation and accomplishments on key ESG commitments.
Story image
Migration
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Frost & Sullivan recognises Genesys as leader in new reports
Frost & Sullivan has recognised Genesys as a leader in the cloud contact centre market for its robust cloud and digital capabilities.
Story image
Ransomware
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Training
Infosec unveils role-guided cybersecurity training roadmaps 
Infosec Skills Roles maps hands-on training and certifications to the 12 most in-demand cybersecurity roles to maximise training efficiency.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Vectra AI
Vectra’s inaugural Partner of the Year Awards revealed
APAC companies Baidam, Firmus, ShellSoft and Macnica have been recognised in Vectra AI's inaugural Partner of the Year Awards.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity prompts upgrade for 1.3 billion electricity meters
ABI Research finds Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and cybersecurity concerns are prompting the upgrade of 1.3 billion electricity meters by 2027.
Story image
Kubernetes
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Innovation
Fastly acquires Glitch, enables faster developer innovation
"This acquisition brings together two of the worlds best ecosystems for application development into a single, seamless developer experience."
Story image
Digital Transformation
The Huawei APAC conference kicks off with digital transformation
More than 1500 people from across APAC have gathered for the Huawei APAC Digital Innovation Congress to explore the future of digital innovation.
Story image
Multi Cloud
Red Hat updates dev tools, empowers use of hybrid and multicloud
Red Hat has unveiled updates across its portfolio of developer tools, designed to help organisations build and deliver applications faster.
Story image
Manhattan Associates
Shortening the click-to-customer cycle through smart technologies
Speed of delivery without accuracy is a dealbreaker for consumers. How can retailers operating in an omnichannel environment overcome the challenge of click-to-customer cycle times.
Story image
Women in Technology
Huawei webinar emphasises the importance of women in tech
Industry findings by Coursera discussed as part of a webinar jointly organised by Huawei and Reuters Events found 6% more women enrolled in tech courses this year than in 2021.
Story image
VPN
The most common online scams in Australia
No one is safe from online scammers, and many of these scammers have capitalised on the pandemic, using this confusing time to attack more people than ever.
Story image
Cybersecurity
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Infrastructure
Nutanix study reveals financial services sector lagging with multicloud adoption
Nutanix has released new research that reveals the financial services sector is lagging behind when it comes to multicloud adoption.
Story image
Training
Trojan cyber attacks hitting SMBs harder than ever - Kaspersky
In 2022 the number of Trojan-PSW detections increased by almost a quarter compared to the same period in 2021 to reach 4,003,323.
Story image
Managed service provider
Barracuda MSP Day 2022 highlights MSP opportunities
Barracuda Networks has released a report showing global services-related MSP revenue is set to increase by more than a third in 2022 compared to 2021.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.