Who is a good leader? What is it that makes a good leader stand out in the crowd and mesmerize you with his/her finesse in everything he/she does? Experts say that along with numerous other qualities, it is the quality of feeling empathy towards your employee and colleagues that actually makes one a successful leader and eventually leads to the success of any organization.
You can find people in leadership roles almost everywhere you look. However, simply shouldering responsibilities of a leader doesn’t necessarily makea a person an effective leader. Leadership itself is a privilege and a skill. There are many leadership skils and competencies that when combined and applied, go towards making you an effective leader.
So what is empathy? Empathy is the ability to have an intuitive understanding of other people and their needs. Within a business setting, it is critical for empathy to be as widespread as possible, permeating all departments from sales to accounting to manufacturing. In today’s world, as evidenced by the terrible financial crisis of last year, there is a possibility that we could get too caught up in data. When we do that, we often fail to see truths that are right in front of us. Employees at ll levels of an organization need to understand the people beyond the office walls – their customers, their clients etc. This enables everyone to make better real-world decisions. Over time, even the smallest decisions influenced by empathy add together to produce a more informed and nimble organization.
Empathy is a necessary attribute of a great leader but i is not sufficient. A lot more is required. In fact, some highly aggressive corporate environments see empathy as a sign of weakness. A good example of such cold-bloodedness was the hot-shot chief executive Albert John Dunlap, who appeared to relish the title of ‘Chainsaw A1’, bestowed upon him for the way he could and would fire any number of employees without hesitation. Well, he was considered to be golder CEO for a while, but he ended up being denounced for an accounting fraud! And that’s the core of the matter – people who are not empathetic often end up being selfish and short sighted instead.
Effective leaders, make tough decisions when situations warrant, but hey also communicate with employees and understand what they are going through. Empathy distinguishes a good leader from the great ones, in a crises situations.
It has been understood that empathy is one quality that a leader must possess in order to be successful and it also plays a role in making an organization achieve its vision. So,, what are the behaviors that go into making any person empathetic towards others and how can this quality be developed?
Empathy can be built from three major behavior
– Recognizing your own shortcomings – past and present.
– Listening to others and learning more about their lives and their private challenges
– Explicitly aspiring to a noble deal of leadership.
If you want your business to adopt widespread empathy, there are really three steps to follow.
1 – Leave the office and get outside. Go to places where people are most likely to act like themselves.
2 – Be genuinely interested in other people. Forget about what is that you do and start caring about the needs of others. Find the real needs first and your solutions will dramatically improve too.
3 – Bring evidence of the real world back to your offices.
Empathetic leaders position people first. True empathy stems from the leader’s ability to display genuine concern towards the needs of others. High level of empathy is denoted by:
1 – Listening to people:
Pay attention to their tone of voice, to the hidden emotions behind what they are saying to you and to the context. Don’t interrupt people. Don’t dismiss their concerns offhand.
2 – Focusing on the non-verbal communication:
the body language of people often communicates what they think or feel, even when their verbal communication says something quite different.
3 – Being fully present:
when you are conversing with people, don’t check your email, look at your watch or take phone calls. Allow people to have their comment.
4 – A Smile:
it makes people comfortable and you more.
Hence, it can rightly be said that, even if you have all the qualities of becoming a successful leader, but if you miss the basic quality of feeling empathy towards your teammates, your journey towards success will be very short lived. Put yourself in their shoes and see how success touches your feet.