Today, more and more people believe empathy to be the cornerstone of leadership qualities. Empathy is also crucial in the crises we are facing in the present time. It is the quality that can make people stick around to your brand. Social distancing is a norm nowadays, and most people are working from their homes, but it does not mean that you have to be emotionally distant. The recent shift to remote work has established a dire need for business leaders and company higher-ups to be empathetic to people’s situations. Everybody is troubled by the pandemic, and people are experiencing it in their own way, so you must understand them.
So what is empathy all about? In simple terms, empathy means putting yourself in someone’s shoes. Psychology defines empathy as the ability to understand the experience, feelings, thoughts, and conditions from their point without inserting in your own opinion.
A person needs to be empathetic with others to make them follow him. Let’s take an example of two people say A & B. The former is a rude who never listens to the problems others are dealing with and never cares for his team. Comparatively, the latter understands each member of his team, takes care of them, and listens to their problems. Under which manager would you want to work? Almost everybody would love to work for manager B because he is empathetic to his team. Does being empathetic make him weak? No, it makes a leader strong because people would want to be with him and follow him.
Following are the ways which show that empathy is the key to strong leadership.
People always follow a strong leader, but it is a common misconception that empathy makes a leader lenient or weak, and so his employees sway away from their objectives and goals. In reality, exercising empathy shows employees they are valued and an integral part of the company. It will help develop employees’ trust in the management and will increase employee satisfaction rate. If there is a healthy relationship between the employees and the leaders, there is less chance that they will leave the company. Empathy helps retain the best employees of the company by earning their loyalty. It shows how empathy can play a vital role in developing leadership that people can rely upon and trust.
Sometimes an employee is not feeling well. There can be medical, physical, or even emotional reasons for it. An empathetic leader will understand that and show lenience accordingly. Such behavior can impact the entire workforce by developing stronger bonds between them and the management. They will understand their responsibilities and will do every bit extra to achieve their goals. It is how they would want to repay their leader for all the positive behavior when they needed it. The positivity in the work environment also helps the employees be more open and expressive, which will generate healthy criticism and discussions. It encourages leaders to understand the root cause behind poor performance and help struggling employees improve and excel.
Man is a social animal, and throughout history, those leaders always connect with the rest of the people at a deeper level. The reason behind this connectivity is the empathy that the leader feels for those who follow him. Nowadays, it has become even more important to practice empathy as diverse groups of individuals work together for the same goal. Without empathy, one cannot understand their problems, circumstances, and emotions, and hence one cannot become an influential leader. Empathy erases all these barriers and helps the leader connect with each individual at a personal level. The result is an enhanced affiliation with the movement or goal, which shows the strength of the leadership.
There is no doubt in it that empathy is the key to strong leadership. It is found in every human being to certain levels, and one can learn to be more empathetic through various practices and soft skills training programs. One should always understand others better and create a certain level of trust and relationships based on goodwill. With this, the leader can achieve his goal.
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