November 28, 2023

5 Ways empathy will affect your leadership.

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1 . Empathy leads to effective listening.

When we listen to understand, and not to reply, we create space for empathy. Leaders who develop this skill stop themselves from “drafting” a response while someone else is speaking, which leads to better relationships based on open communication. This doesn’t mean that the thoughts or potential responses won’t come up for those leaders, those immediate thoughts and responses are a natural part of the communication process. Empathy helps create that space for genuine interest where you can let your thoughts come and go and remain committed to the sole objective of understanding the message that is being transmitted. It also doesn’t mean that we need to agree. We are just allowing the message to be communicated. Half of the conflict in the workplace comes from lack of effective communication and 50% of that process lies on effective listening.

2 . Empathy triggers action.

Effective leadership comes from results and results come from taking action. The main difference between empathy and sympathy is that empathy leads to action. In the modern workplace, as we embrace diversity, and inclusion, leaders must take courageous action to promote equity. Equity starts with understanding our differences and giving everyone what they need to thrive. Understanding of the subtle differences and nuanced thinking is how we create equity in the workplace.

3 . Empathy contributes to character development.

In the ever-evolving conversation about organizational culture, effective leaders must be able to build trust. Trust is such a complicated concept. In the words of Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, when defining trust; “You know it when you feel it.”

There aren’t many metrics scientifically validated to measure trust, however, we do know that trust is connected to performance. As we embrace empathy, our character rises to higher levels of ethics and integrity. While we might not be aware of it, every situation, challenge, event in which we tap into our ability to show empathy is naturally improving our ability to build trust. Let’s say building trust is a side effect of practicing empathy.

4 . Empathy fosters a culture of inclusion.

Empathetic leaders ensure that not only the loudest voices are heard. This principle has an effect not only in idea generation but also hiring, promoting, evaluating performance, and designing development programs for employees. In a culture of inclusion, people come before profits, cultivating connection, and empathizing at the team and individual level to be able foster personal and professional growth for all.

5 . Empathy and motivation are significantly intertwined.

When a leader is implementing a transformational approach, there are three factors that must be present to facilitate the development and adoption of a new behavior. We are talking about capability or competency, knowing how to do it, opportunity, having a chance to do it, and motivation, wanting to do it. Empathetic leaders can inspire others and encourage collaboration and a strong sense of culture. Empathy is very relevant to inspiration because it is triggered by very different factors in every individual. When you try to motivate everyone using the same strategy you don’t get the same results that a transformational leader can achieve by tailoring the approach according to the lived experiences of each team member.

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