3 steps to improved empathy in leadership

Leaders Empathy can be considered as the ability to experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions, or experiences of others. In other words, it is the ability to step into someone else’s shoes and understand their perspective, feelings, and needs. While this may be considered to be a “soft” (and to some, unimportant) skill, it actually has great importance in the workplace. Within organizations, empathy can show a deep respect for others. Many leadership theories suggest that the ability to have and display empathy is a key facet of leadership. For instance, transformational leaders depend upon empathy to show their followers that they care for and are invested in their achievement. In fact, research has shown that empathy is statistically related to job performance.1 Fortunately, empathy can be developed! Consider the following tips from Chad Fowler:

  • • Watch and Wonder by engaging in people watching. Try to observe others and their mannerisms to get a better sense of who they are and what they are experiencing.
  • • Choose the Other Side by playing devil’s advocate. Ask yourself, “How does this person see it?”
  • • Listen intently when people speak to you. As explained by Chad:
Force yourself to listen to the words you’re hearing. Consider the speaker’s motivation behind saying what he or she is saying. Consider the life and work experience that has led to his or her current world-view. Respond visually and with sound (“ah”, “oh”, “ya?”) but allow at least a second to pass before responding verbally. Ask followup questions to better understand what the speaker intended or how they feel before you respond with your own opinions.

For more information and other tips, please see the original post here. http://www.ccl.org/leadership/pdf/research/EmpathyInTheWorkplace.pdf

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