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Julie Chesley and Terri Egan Weigh in on How Business Leaders Can Virtually Convey Support

Organizations across the nation are deciding whether to return to the office or continue with a remote workforce. Schools and organizations have opened and closed within days because of reported outbreaks and necessary quarantines. As companies continue to grapple with the new business normal they must also adjust to the new series of virtual meetings and other modes of communication. Julie Chesley and Terri Egan share insights with TechRepublic on the importance of being empathetic while virtually working and attending video meetings.

"When individuals are anxious, we feel less empathetic—we lose some of our ability to perspective-take, a critical part of empathy," said Terri Egan. Leaders who participate in active listening show their employees and clients that they are heard, and by offering your opinion you support their perspective. It’s important for leaders to understand the big picture and to validate what is going on. "If a colleague expresses a struggle, what is the context, what is the frame of mind of this other person, what’s going on in their world? Then, instead of trying to solve the issue for them, fix things or try and make them feel better, validate what’s going on," said Julie Chesley.

Leaders must also foster connection and understanding with their colleagues. "Try and stay out of judgement—and that’s hard to do. It's so easy to be on autopilot and judge another person's thoughts or actions, or what they should be feeling or doing," said Terri Egan. It’s also important to avoid distractions during video conferences. That goes for both parties. Your background should be clutter-free to avoid distractions and you shouldn't have browser windows open during conversations. Read more.