Photo by DreamsTime. Article by Jospeh Lalonde.

Your team desires a leader who goes beyond the expectations of a leader. They want someone who cares, seeks the emotional well-being of their team, and responds in kind.

You can be that kind of leader. You can create an environment where your people are seen, felt, and heard.

Do you know what that does?

It makes your team want to stay with you. When they know there’s a leader who cares, they’re willing to stick around for the long haul.

Many leaders have asked the question: How do I become an emotionally supportive leader? You must grow your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to do that. You have to take the actions of an emotionally supportive leader.

In this article, we’ll explore why it’s important to support your team emotionally and what steps you can take to do so.

There are many benefits to being an emotionally supportive leader. They include:

  • Employee well-being: Your people will feel mentally and emotionally safe. This leads to improved mental health.
  • Higher job satisfaction: People come to work for more than a paycheck. They come to be a part of something bigger. That something bigger includes their emotional health. By being a supportive force in their life, you increase their job satisfaction as well as quality of life.
  • Increased engagement: A cared-for person becomes a go-getter. They know that you have their back, so if something doesn’t go right, they know their job isn’t on the line. Instead, they’re willing to be engaged and take risks that pay off.
  • Improved communication: When a person feels cared for, they open up more. They share their hopes, dreams, and struggles. This is important to a leader because you get to see your team members as more than a number. They’re living, breathing beings you can help. You know how to help them reach their goals because they’ve opened up.
  • Lower absenteeism: Do you struggle with employees not showing up? It may be that they don’t feel cared for or they’re struggling with a mental health issue. When you provide emotional support, you help mitigate some of the issues that cause absenteeism.

Those are great things that happen when there’s an emotionally supportive leader, right? Working on this area of your leadership development can be a struggle. It takes time and effort, but you can do it.

Below, you will find four ways to be an emotionally supportive leader.

  1. Have consistent check-ins.

If you’re not an active presence in the work life of your people, you’re not going to be able to be an emotionally supportive force in their life. They may see you as someone who floats in and out of the office but doesn’t really care.

You can change this view they have of you. Hold consistent one-on-one meetings with your employees. These are times that you check in, see how they’re doing, find out their needs and anything else that’s going on in their lives. Don’t push or prod too much, but let them know you’re there for them.

This works for small or large organizations. Leaders at are known to do this well. They implemented 1:1 check-ins that focus on work issues to their personal well-being.

  1. Develop your empathy muscle.

Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings and perspectives of those around you. This is important when trying to emotionally support those you lead.

It’s hard to support someone when you don’t understand them. Dig in here. Discover ways to grow your empathy skills.

This could look like sharing personal struggles that you have had and how you resolved them. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, has shared her personal grief with those within her organization. It made them see her in a new light.

When you become an empathetic leader, you can become an emotionally supportive leader.

  1. Provide professional development opportunities.

A great employee will want to continue to improve their skills. They’re looking for ways to grow, learn, and move up. Sometimes, they move on because they don’t feel their current boss is providing this critical aspect of their job to them.

It may seem strange to consider this an emotionally supportive activity. But think about it…

You’re showing that you see potential in the employee. They sense that you care for them because you’re focusing on them whether it’s through a personal mentoring program, helping them find courses that engage them, or seeing that they’re successful in their career.

  1. Give access to crisis support.

Everyone faces a crisis at some point in their life. There are big and little crises that people in your organization will face.

Being there for them and walking them through their crisis is important. More importantly, it’s critical that you offer access to professional crisis support.

This could look like a hotline for free counseling provided by your organization, a heartfelt message from your CEO, or extra insurance for mental health issues. Whatever you do, make sure you’re giving your team access to crisis support.