Faces with the word empathy

Workplace Wednesday: Part 4: Employee Engagement: Leading with empathy

Posted Tanys Coughlan Workplace Wednesdays

Why is leading with empathy important to today’s organizations?

To answer this question, we must look at two key concepts before we delve in further.

What is empathy?

Empathy is the ability to relate to and connect with another person on some level. It’s the ability to share the feelings of others, understand them and be sensitive to them. We often use metaphors like “seeing through someone else’s eyes” to indicate the use of empathy.
Empathy involves listening and being observant of the person’s behaviours to discern their feelings on what is being spoken about.

Next let’s talk about leaders.

What are leaders?

Most of us think of leaders as being CEOs or Presidents in business or political leaders leading a country and some even think of explorers cutting a path through a jungle that the group will follow. Leaders create a vision for the future that motivates and inspires people. Leaders a e capable of delivering that vision and coaching and building a team to get them to achieve the vision.
Now that we have defined the concepts; let’s look at how they go together to create strong and empowered teams in business.

“Daniel Goelman with his work on Emotional Intelligence has said that the main task of any leader is to channel the emotions of his team in the right direction.

When we think of empathy and leadership, here are some golden nuggets to consider:

• Empathetic leaders have a better chance to understand our team’s feelings.
• Empathy is a human need to relate through a caring dialogue.
• Empathetic ability has a major significance for leadership.
• Empathy helps the leader’s relations with people and communication.
• Understanding the intentions, feelings and thoughts of others
• Empathy helps leaders become more in tuned with their teams’ success and failures.
• Empathy helps create an atmosphere of cooperation in any environment.”
(http://leadershiphospitality.com/496/leading-with-empathy-how-leaders-can-improve-relationships/)

Another site lists the advantages of empathy in leaders as:

• “Empathy allows us to feel safe with our failures because we won’t simply be blamed for them.
• It encourages leaders to understand the root cause behind poor performance.
• Being empathetic allows leaders to help struggling employees improve and excel.
• Empathy allows leaders to build and develop relationships with those they lead.

Leaders need to understand the inner purpose that drives each of their employees and aligning that with the organizational goals”
(http://www.tanveernaseer.com/why-empathy-matters-in-leadership/)
Using empathy with our employees is a necessary skill to enhance employee engagement. If you have engaged employees you will have happier customers and in turn higher revenue.

It just makes sense, don’t you think? Tell us what you think.

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Tanys is a Certified Human Resources professional with 20 years experience in the Home Healthcare Field including 5 years of management experience. She has over 10 years experience as an adult trainer/facilitator and a proven ability to work with staff, management and other stakeholders to sustain and improve key performance indicators. Tanys works diligently with businesses to increase their productivity by putting the human in human resources.


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