How Are You?

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In the fast-paced world of business, it’s easy for leaders to get caught up in the demands of the day. But amidst the chaos, there’s a simple yet powerful question that can make all the difference: “How are you?”

Over the past month, I’ve been struck by the profound impact of this question on my clients. One of them confided in me that in over two decades of working for the same company, they had never been asked this question by their boss. This revelation got me thinking: Why is it so important for leaders to demonstrate empathy, care, and concern?

Here are three compelling reasons:

  1. Relatedness: At the core of our humanity lies a fundamental need for connection. When a leader takes the time to inquire about their team members’ well-being, it fosters a sense of relatedness in the workplace. Suddenly, employees feel seen and valued beyond their roles as mere cogs in the productivity machine.
  2. Being Seen: Nobody wants to feel like they’re invisible at work. By asking “How are you?” leaders acknowledge the individual behind the job title. This simple act of recognition can boost morale and create a more positive work environment where employees feel valued for who they are, not just what they do.
  3. Empathy: More than just understanding, empathy involves actively engaging with others in their experiences, both positive and negative. It’s a cornerstone of emotional intelligence and a vital skill for effective leadership. Contrary to some beliefs, empathy isn’t overrated—it’s a powerful tool for building trust, fostering collaboration, and nurturing a supportive workplace culture.

As leaders, our goal is not just to drive productivity but also to inspire and motivate our teams. By asking “How are you doing?” and genuinely listening to the responses, we show our employees that we care about their well-being. This simple gesture can go a long way in boosting morale, increasing engagement, and ultimately driving greater productivity.

So, the next time you interact with your team, remember to ask them how they’re doing—and really listen to their answers. Not only does it help them process their stress and negative emotions, but it also strengthens the bond between leader and team member. In a world where human connection is more important than ever, a little empathy can go a long way in driving success, both professionally and personally.