The Role of Empathy in a Great Leader

Oh, so much has been written about empathy.

How it’s different from sympathy.

It’s connection to Emotional Intelligence.

What it’s like working with people who seem to have no empathy versus working with someone who has it in spades.

Empathy.  Various definitions abound, but here’s a really simple one:

 “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another”.

For some, being empathetic comes naturally.

For others, there is need to really work to achieve even a basic level.

Pretty much every executive coaching client I’ve had in the 18 years of my practice, has brought up the topic of empathy at one time or another.  For some of them, learning to become more empathic has been a cornerstone of our coaching conversations.

So here’s a question worth pondering: 

Why are great leaders empathic? 

Because they are able to CONNECT with their colleagues in an authentic and helpful way and see the world from their perspectives… they are able to BUILD TRUST… they are able to MOTIVATE others… and they can FOSTER COMMUNICATION in important ways.

So whether you are in a leadership position at work, aspire to be a better leader in all that you do, or are becoming more aware of the leadership qualities in those people around you… maybe it’s time to pay a bit more attention to cultivating empathy as an essential leadership trait .

Just imagine a better workplace, where EMPATHY is as highly valued as some of the other “traits” or “skills” that are required for leaders today!

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