Strengthening Your Empathy as a Leader
“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands.” – Daniel Goleman
Empathy: the ability to consider the feelings of others; the capacity to put yourself in the shoes of someone else
“If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.” – Steven Covey
Some Benefits to Leaders Who Exercise Empathy
- They are more effective “connectors”.
- They express concern for those they lead as PEOPLE rather than just employees. Their team members notice this valuable character quality.
- They have the capacity to enhance or strengthen employee engagement.
- They are well-served at attracting and retaining top talent to their team.
“Empathy is a universal team value that promotes high commitment and cooperation in the workplace.” – Dianne Crampton, Gonzaga University
Four Suggestions for Building Your Empathy
- Become a very effective listener.
- Provide forums to gather feedback from key stakeholders on your team.
- Mentor someone else.
- Enlist some support from those who can help you grow in your empathy. (trusted friend, colleague or coach)
“Empathy is patiently and sincerely seeing the world through the other person’s eyes. It is not learned in school; it is cultivated over a lifetime.” – Albert Einstein
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa
Next Episode: Social Skills