Empathy is the ability to truly understand someone by being able to “walk a mile in their shoes,” or see situations and events from their perspective. It’s an innate human trait that has a place in every scenario. The importance of leadership and the relationship between it and empathy cannot be understated.
We frequently wish for someone to put themselves in our place so that they’ll understand us better. However, we are less likely to do the same for others, especially in a leadership position.
Great leaders form strong relationships with their team members. Empathy, especially from a leader, is a crucial aspect of any rock-solid group.
Read on to learn why this often neglected ability is one businesses absolutely need for sustained success.
Empathy Shows You Value Relationships
Employees, no matter what their position, are first and foremost individuals. They are unique people, with their own special concerns, preferences, beliefs, and struggles.
Taking the time to acknowledge an employee or team member as a whole person will help you understand
- Workplace difficulties and how to resolve them
- Why this person takes certain approaches to problems
- What motivates this person to do better
- What role is best for this individual in a team setting
- What makes this particular person feel secure
When you value relationships with individuals, you demonstrate it by finding out who they are and what makes them tick. You show empathy for the individual.
You are not merely issuing commands. You are functioning within a relationship with a person and actively working with them to accomplish a goal.
Putting Others Before Yourself
Putting others first is critical in establishing productive work relationships. The importance of leadership that incorporates an “others first” mentality cannot be emphasized enough.
Leadership is a huge responsibility, not a display of privilege and power. Team members respond to a leader who is willing to make their individual needs and concerns a priority.
Team members will also have more respect for a leader who is aware of the types of work being performed and accompanying challenges. This gives leaders authority from credibility, not just from a title.
Empathetic leaders empower others so they can reach their full potential and succeed. They do not insist on ruling over others. The goal is to build others up so that productivity and harmony will follow.
The Importance of Leadership and Empathy in Business Success
To succeed, a business needs to have cohesiveness between leadership and team members. Close-knit relationships will lead to more trust between leaders and their team, which naturally results in better, more effective communication.
Clear communication is a positive manifestation of the established trust and loyalty that empathy encourages. Businesses make progress and maintain momentum when each tier effectually connects within the framework of a company.
The goals of a business and those of its employees align so that effort is made for the good of all, not for the power of a few.
The knowledge that leaders are there to help, not demand, motivates team members to do their best to ensure team success. They feel their role in the process is valuable.
Leadership is About Responsibility
Responsibility encompasses more than task delegation and whip-cracking. It requires a holistic approach that includes, not alienates, every contributing person. A great leader utilizes encouragement and empathy, not blame or threats.
When you can understand where someone is coming from and work with them, the business benefits as a whole.
Explore my blog for more ideas on how to become a better leader and on how to help your business grow.
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