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Can You Still Work With Empathy When You Work From Home?

It’s a new world, a new ‘normal’. We’re now living among disrupted operational systems, fragmented environments, and have a separated workforce. All of this will have led to a very different dynamic for leaders, especially in healthcare and research. The bar has been raised. We’ve all been forced, as leaders, to adopt an increasingly holistic style of leadership, where the primary consideration has to be one of empathy with greater awareness of the sheer volume of stresses and strains your team is under.

In the ‘old’ everyday, physical workplace, we may have focused on how well we were able to influence and collaborate with face-to-face communication paramount to our successes, projecting confidence and conviction through our words. You could feel the energy and see reactions to what was happening around you, if something had fallen flat you could interject and reframe your work to try and persuade others of your vision, ideas, and decisions. You could see up close reactions of what worked, and, possibly more importantly, what didn’t. You knew instinctively when meetings went well, and why. Part of your leadership success was influenced by understanding how people responded to you and adjusting your response to fit the scenario.

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After nearly 20 years in the NHS, starting as a hospital porter, Ross Downes has been lucky enough to spend the best part of the last eight years working in the exciting world of research. The beginnings of this were spent on a steep learning curve as an ophthalmology research coordinator, before some time working in the incredibly diverse world of primary care. His current role as the Industry Manager for the NIHR, Thames Valley, and South Midlands Clinical Research Network enables Ross to help facilitate and integrate research into trusts within the region.

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