The usual idea of what makes a leader is usually someone with confidence, authority, intelligence, someone who draws respect and leads decisively. However, in these uncertain times, the role of a leader has changed. The goal has been to grow profits and business success and drive a holistic, healthy, and happy workplace setting.
Hence, the trait of empathy has become increasingly more necessary. While before, “softer” characteristics were put on the backburner for traits more suited for the business world, it turns out empathy is more necessary than one might think.
What is empathy?
Empathy is the innate human ability to understand and feel another’s emotional state in a given situation. While everyone has some capacity for empathy, it varies on an individual level. Anyone can increase their empathy and learn to use it effectively to create success in a business setting. As critical as empathy sounds, it is not usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about leadership.
What makes a successful leader?
In business, a leader might be anyone holding a position of power. Be it the CEO or a project manager, a leader is the one delegated to take charge. They are on a pedestal that elevates the trust and reliance others have on them, rather than elevate them to a higher standing. First and foremost, leaders are in the service of those under their charge.
A leader must take into consideration the emotional condition and well-being of all employees. Empathy is critical to providing a high-value experience to customers and meeting the needs of employees. In addition, being in tune with the well-being of all individuals in a company keeps everyone motivated to produce high-quality creative work.
How to display more empathy as a leader?
It starts with being more immersed in the world of your employees. Many business leaders do this by operating an open-door policy to offset power dynamics that may prevent employees from stepping forward to offer feedback.
Holistically creating an environment that promotes safety, inclusivity, and diversity, especially in today’s tumultuous social climate, is more important than ever.
Some leaders even initiate empathy training for managers to foster understanding and communication between them and their team members.
No matter the process, a leader who truly demonstrates care for employee well-being inevitably brandishes success.