Businesses need to have good leaders and managers to help the company persevere through challenging times and make the most out of favorable situations. While traditional management skills are still necessary, developing and cultivating new skills is also vital as the modern workplace shifts toward a person-focused approach.
One of the skills that leaders and managers should foster is empathy. An empathetic leader or manager can create an enjoyable work environment for employees, encouraging growth and productivity. Read on to learn more about empathy in leadership and what you can do to promote empathy in yourself and others.
Empathy describes the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes and understand their needs. It lets you relate to their thoughts and feelings and develop a deeper understanding of who they are as a person. If another person is struggling, empathy lets you envision yourself in the same situation. By imagining how someone else's experience might make you feel, you can respond with kindness and compassion.
It can be challenging to understand someone else's perspective. While most people understand their own emotions and feelings, it takes time and effort to develop empathy and learn what it means to walk in another person's shoes.
Empathy can also foster practical communication skills that create positive outcomes. Effective communication is an essential skill that allows you to connect with others in personal and professional settings. Though often overlooked, empathy in the workplace makes it easier to communicate and connect with your employees, strengthen your bonds and boost their performance.
People often confuse sympathy and empathy, using the two terms interchangeably. However, there are key differences that make sympathy and empathy very different:
Empathy helps people feel validated and understood. Listening to someone's challenges and understanding where they're coming from can go a long way in personal and professional relationships.
Empathy is an essential skill that leaders should foster to make the work environment as productive as possible. Practicing empathy with your employees and team members can help you:
Empathetic leaders are a tremendous asset to their companies and businesses. Leaders who show empathy connect more effectively with their team members, encouraging higher productivity and deeper bonds. Some common ways you can show empathy in the workplace include:
While you should practice empathy frequently, it's also important to set boundaries and continue to hold people accountable. It can be easy to overcorrect as you learn, getting caught up in other people's struggles or allowing employees to constantly miss deadlines.
Each situation is unique and it takes practice to learn how much empathy is appropriate in every circumstance. Ensure that you're still making good decisions and maintaining a standard of behavior.
Empathy is an essential skill that can make a significant difference in the productivity and happiness of your employees. It's also just one of many leadership skills that you can utilize to improve your relationship with employees and make your work environment as successful as possible.
At the NeuroLeadership Institute, we offer brain-based coaching programs, helping you become a more effective leader and communicator by learning how the brain works. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve your leadership skills and your business.