Empathy has been a vital skill for leaders, but it’s taken on a whole new level of purpose and emphasis. Far from a gentle approach, it can deliver meaningful business outcomes.
We always know that showing empathy is favorable for people, but a new study demonstrates its prominence for everything from novelty to procurement. Outstanding leadership requires a fine mix of skills to create the circumstances for engagement, pleasure and execution, and empathy outperforms the list of what leaders should get right.
Nowadays, many corporate leaders understand the significance of empathy in leadership and have started hiring accordingly. Here’s what they’re looking for.
What does empathy mean?
To appreciate empathy’s part in leadership, we first must clearly understand what empathy means. We often get confused between empathy and sympathy; to be empathetic means to agree with or relate to another individual’s feelings regarding a problem or person.
However, what sympathy means is being able to comprehend the necessities of others. It means that you know their sentiments and how they affect their perception. It doesn’t mean you have to compromise with how they see things; being empathetic means that you are willing and able to understand what the other person is going through.
What is empathetic leadership?
It is a leadership style that focuses on recognizing others and comprehending their point of view. Compassionate leaders take a genuine interest in the individuals around them – what triggers them, motivates them, and how they feel. They desire to understand why individuals are the way they are. This fascination helps them become prominent leaders who can relate to many people and adjust their style depending on who they interact with.
There are drawbacks of being an compassionate leader. For example, empathetic leaders can find it hard to face others to give negative feedback. But the best thing about these leaders is that they don’t just feel for their team fellows – they make an effort to help them grow their professions, and sometimes that signifies giving constructive criticism.
Let’s see what statistics have to say about empathetic leadership:
Empathy is a powerful therapy that contributes to joyful experiences for people and teams. However, in a study by Catalyst on 889 employees, it was found to have few significant impacts:
When individuals reported their heads were empathetic, they were better likely to declare they could be ingenious—61% of workers compared to only 13% of workers with petite compassionate leaders.
76% of individuals who experienced compassion from their leaders said they were engaged, while only 32% experienced minor empathy.
50% of people with empathetic managers conveyed that their workspace was inclusive, while only 17% had less compassionate leadership.
When individuals felt their minds were more empathetic, 86% declared they could guide the demands of their profession and life—successfully juggling their family, personal, and work responsibilities. This resembled 60% of those who sensed less empathy.
Benefits of compassion in leadership
Being an empathetic manager isn’t just about emotions. Practicing empathy in business benefits your squad, your organization and your career. Here are some of the benefits:
1. Boosted Trust
It is not easy to build trust in the workplace, but when you genuinely comprehend your team’s sentiments and needs and provide unconditional support, you can build trust.
2. More Robust Team
Compassionate leadership doesn’t just give your team conviction in you but in each other. As Tony Robbins said, “Don’t try to be ideal; just be an excellent example of being human.” Guiding by example is a top empathy leadership quality and entitles you to build more potent teams.
3. Good Decision-Making
Compassionate leaders are diplomatic and open to the ideas, worldviews and knowledge of others. They have an unquenchable curiosity to ask the right questions, so they always learn something new. Their interest allows them to foreknow the results of their decisions. Therefore, it is easy for them to make judgments fast and accurately.
4. Improved Influence
Empathetic administrators know how to interact, connect, and leverage themselves to influence others in the future. This doesn’t signify they are unethical. They know how to fulfil others’ needs in a way that benefits everyone involved.
Traits that differentiate someone as empathetic:
The essential trait that characterizes someone as empathetic is that they are free from distraction. For instance, if you are talking to someone empathetic, you will find that their entire focus will be listening to you. He/ She will concentrate on what you are trying to say rather than shifting attention towards his smartphone or monitor. Usually, they spend more time listening than speaking, as their main motive is to comprehend the difficulties faced by others. This type of personality is not limited to hearing but applies unconditionally to every situation.
Top four qualities of empathy leaders you should adopt and how?
- Emotional Intelligence
Let’s discuss and try to understand each leadership quality in depth.
Of course, this trait has to be number one, as it allows one to see and feel the emotions of others. To awaken this trait inside, keep practicing deep listening. Try to be completely present with others and learn to identify and respond to different working and interaction styles.
Empathy and compassion are both synonyms of each other, but when it comes to meaning, there is a slight difference. Empathy is the ability to feel other’s pain, whereas compassion is your desire to act and relieve another’s suffering. For instance, empathy is a data-gathering tool, whereas compassion is putting your learnings into practice.
3. Emotional Intelligence
This trait is also part of empathy, but it differs just like compassion. Emotional intelligence includes both your ability to recognize the emotions of others along with being able to identify and manage your feelings. It allows you to practice empathy and compassion without letting emotion get the better acknowledgement of you.
It is a vital skill, especially for empathetic leadership. Flexibility allows you to build a culture of creativity and innovation where all views and opinions are considered.
How to practice empathetic leadership at work?
Empathetic leadership in administration is more than what you say and how you act. The basic definition is leading with a caring heart. Here are a few simple techniques for practicing empathy in the workspace.
1. Don’t move towards negative conclusions
Empathetic leaders are optimistic thinkers. They think positively about their reports or statements, even when things are going in the wrong direction. Instead of leaping to negative conclusions, they try to understand the root of the issue & try to resolve it.
2. Practice deep listening
One of the most critical leadership skills is active and deep listening, which requires empathy. The goal of a profound listener is to understand and relate to the person they are talking to. As an outcome, the workforce feels their managers care about their thoughts and opinions.
3. Get a better viewpoint
In management, it is seen that great leaders are humble – again, a trait that requires empathy. An empathetic head comprehends that their beliefs, judgments, thoughts and suggestions are not absolutely true. Leaders with a growth mindset seek counsel from their mentors, listen to workers at all levels, and gain a better viewpoint.
4. Validate others
An empathetic leader protects others, providing stability and safety. Whether it’s helping someone, experiencing difficulties or providing frequent employee recognition, upper-level managers must set a culture of overlooking others by validating and nurturing feelings.
5. Show interest in the lives of your employees
Treat face-to-face interactions as an opportunity to show interest in the lives of your employees. In easy words, get to know your team privately. As a leader, showing interest in your associates’ lives will help you understand them better. Consequently, you’ll build more robust, trusting connections that can last many years.
Unfortunately, empathy is seen as an invaluable trait in the leader, whereas some often say that this particular quality makes a leader weak.
However, in this blog, we have discussed that empathy is valuable and a must-have trait in a leader. Hopefully, this article has helped you enhance your perspective, and you will now be able to implicate this knowledge in your workspace to achieve high performance, joy, and success in the organization!