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The importance of empathy in leadership

According to research conducted by Development Dimensions International (DDI), empathy is the most essential leadership meta-skill today. The ability to listen, empathize and respond by analyzing the emotional state of another person is a skill that surpasses all other communication and communication skills. That’s why every business should pay attention to diversity hiring platforms for future diversity and inclusion. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, 20% of Western employers offer their employees special “empathy training”, although 10 years ago nobody knew the importance of this skill.

Why is developing empathy important? 4 main reasons:

Relationships with colleagues will improve.

One of the most frequently cited reasons for dismissal is poor relations with the work team. Developed empathy will help you better understand other employees, and mutual understanding is the key to productive collaboration. The sooner you start to get along with others, the sooner the trusting relationship will grow. And it is very important for teamwork.

The efficiency of the company will increase.

A person with developed empathy always feels at what point the interlocutor needs moral support, and is ready to cheer him up with a compliment or competent advice. The caring attitude of other team members has a positive effect on a person’s motivation. Knowing that his work is treated with attention and respect, the employee wants to meet expectations as much as possible and show high results.

You will be able to avoid conflicts with superiors.

Managers are just the same people with their own habits, oddities, and problems. When you learn to distinguish between dominance and bad mood caused by being late, you will be able to build the right relationship with your boss. Understanding how the other person feels will help you avoid quarrels, conflicts, and, as a result, dismissal.

Empathy in leadership

The climate in the team will become more creative.

If you, as the head of a department or an entire company, not only master the skill of empathy but also instill it in your employees, the atmosphere will become more creative. The fact is that people who consider themselves part of a harmonious organism and feel that they are heard and appreciated tend to take more risks and look for new ways of self-realization. They spend time and energy diligently developing new ideas, processes, and methods. The goal is to improve their own work and move the organization forward.

How to learn empathy?

Start with yourself. Live in harmony with your “I”, be positive, and transfer your peace of mind, optimistic feelings, and attitude towards life to relationships with friends and colleagues around you. Look for individual ways of interaction that will help unlock the potential (both of you and your interlocutor), find resources for fruitful cooperation.

Sometimes people tend to confuse pity and empathy. Remember that pity can hurt a business, but empathy can’t. Empathy is alien to indifference. This is an understanding of the complex tragic (or, conversely, happy) situation of an employee and the opportunity – if necessary – to help him.

If the principles of mutual understanding and care are not at the heart of the corporate culture of the organization. This is fraught with very undesirable consequences. When, in the hope of achieving high financial performance, the manager uses destructive methods and strategic techniques, he is unlikely to be able to increase the motivation of employees.

On the contrary, a constructive and sensitive approach contributes to a healthy climate and good commercial results. Empathy allows you to successfully develop the potential of the organization. It contributes to an increase in the number of employees with outstanding leadership qualities, strengthens the corporate spirit. It also increases the efficiency of fulfilling client requests, and enhances a sense of responsibility.

Empathy is able to spread to the entire team when they perceive it as a social norm. How to achieve this? When a leader constantly emphasizes the importance of empathy for successful corporate development and sets an example of sensitive behavior, this alone triggers the mechanism for the development of empathy into a universal ethical norm. As a result, team spirit, enthusiasm and devotion to the company are strengthened among subordinates.  Employees working in such a corporate culture usually feel that their personal and professional development is not indifferent to others. They feel that they are “not alone”.

Emotions contain very important information. The life of every organization is filled with them. So the leader must learn how to cope with them and manage them. Ignoring them is a dead-end because they won’t get away from it.

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