You may be wondering why is the empathetic leader the best leader?
Empathy is a leadership competency – like no other skill- that can make a big difference when it comes to leadership.
Empathy means being able to understand the needs of others. It means you’re aware of their feelings and their thinking.
It doesn’t mean you have to agree with their point of view, but- it means that you’re willing to understand and appreciate it.
Many people are quick to empathy as a touchy-feely skill. But in truth, it can be difficult to master and demanding to maintain, and it has major impact on leadership.
At the core leadership is ultimately about others. It means inspiring them to take actions beyond their capabilities, leading them in a direction that is compelling and inspiring. And empathy is the foundation of those actions.
Here are six simple ways that empathy can make you into the best leader you can be:
1. Empathy creates bonds. When you care about another, you create a strong bond. You are better able to connect and understand their interests and perspective. Imagine the power of your teams, your business, your leadership with the bonds between them strengthened by empathy.
2. Empathy gives insight. It’s important to remember that the story we tell in our minds is different from the story playing in the minds of others. It is only through listening intently to others that you can begin to understand these differences. When you listen you learn, and when you learn you gain insight. There is a story behind every person, a reason why they are the way they are. Empathy allows you to think before you judge and make assumptions.
3. Empathy teaches presence: Empathy means listening attentively, putting your complete focus on the person in front of you without becoming distracted. As a leader you are present to listen, understand, assist, and support, not to advise or fix or reply but simply to be. Being present means allowing others to have their moment, and it teaches us as leaders to be patient. It means putting others ahead of yourself—which in today’s competitive workplace can be challenging.
4. Empathy guides understanding: It’s not always easy to understand why someone feels or thinks the way they do. People often react in ways that are surprising, and it may leave you clueless about how to respond. But with empathy in your leadership toolkit, you don’t have to worry how to respond, because the goal is not to respond but to listen, not to reply but to understand. Empathy allows you to understand others without passing judgment or making assumptions.
5. Empathy sharpens people skills. Demonstrating empathy is hard; it takes time and effort to show awareness and understanding. When it comes to building teams and earning trust, you have to take an interest in people, to show you care. You have to show curiosity by asking questions about their challenges, their families, and their aspirations. When you do, you build empathy—and you sharpen your people skills.
6. Empathy cultivates better communicator. When you’re acting in empathy, you listen in a way that makes other people want to speak to you, and communicate in way that makes people feel safe to talk to you. To effectively communicate means realizing and acknowledging the differences in the choices we make and in the way we perceive the world, and then using this understanding to guide your communications with others.
At the end, empathy is a leadership capability that is well worth cultivating, a soft skill that leads to hard, tangible results.
Lead From Within: What’s empathy have to do with leadership. Everything. Because leadership is about having the ability to relate and connect and listen and bond with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.
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Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness is being released by Portfolio May 2017.