Leadership: The Value of Empathy!

by Administrator 08.Aug.2011 09:43:00

Empathy seems more often than not to be considered a warm and fuzzy word in corporate circles. Certainly most training mandates indicate an unspoken aversion to the notion of empathy when discussing leadership requirements. It seems rather that absolutism, rigidity & strict adherence to rules/process are usually considered hallmarks of strong leadership.

Experience has taught me however that empathetic leaders have decided strengths in strategically identifying/spotting what might remain unseen, hiring the right team, reaching audiences/target markets, concluding successful negotiations and effectively resolving problems.

Certainly on a management level the ability to understand and accept humanity, imperfection and failure, in themselves and others, goes a long way in building a climate of team trust. Similarly empathy is the foundation upon which risk, change, crisis & chaos are managed!

It is perhaps useful to consider the core-competencies/qualities that underpin empathy: Listening; Observing; Analysis; Courage; Instinct; Dedication; Consideration; Forward thinking;

Beyond the business world, think of the value of empathetic teachers, doctors, cops, lawyers, builders etc. who are prepared to subjectively & objectively consider the circumstance of others, before applying a one size fits all solution/approach!

Surely the very notion of societal fairness depends upon a preparedness to empathize with the plight/requirement of those around us? 

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