Do you want to get a glimpse of the kind of leadership that makes an outstanding organization? You can by simply observing those in leadership roles. In a team headed by a great leader, people do their tasks with passion and commitment. If only all companies were driven by great leaders, the world would be a much better place. Too often we see people expressing discontentment over management styles. In this unfortunate scenario, people tend to be unmotivated and underachieve. This brings to mind the age-old question of what makes a good leader? However, with all the traits that differentiate a great leader from a bad one, empathy is certainly one of them. The ability to put oneself in another’s shoes is surely a trait that all leaders need to learn. In a way, good leadership without empathy seems impossible. The following four pointers will show how you as a leader can show empathy.
Display emotional intelligence.
Empathy is a trait that allows you to relate to the circumstances of others. It requires one to be patient, caring and kind. It is also something that is hard to fake. Leaders who want to show empathy have to start the process within themselves. The first step is to develop positive traits associated with emotional intelligence. Build a character that others would like to emulate and empathy will come naturally.
It isn’t unusual for people to approach a leader for some wise words or advice. Sometimes the best support a leader can give is simply lending an open ear. Allot time to listen to what people on your team have to say about certain topics, projects or issues. Great leaders don’t just do all the talking. On the contrary, they continually encourage others to share their opinions or ideas.
Learn and understand the work each person on your team does.
Problems are likely to arise on a team where leaders have little to no inkling about the job that each person on the team does. This stresses the importance of having a broad understanding of the work that everyone is doing, even if a certain skill is not part of your expertise. You should take time to understand the skills needed and challenges involved in each project. It can be done by studying the nature of your employee’s job or spending time with team members while they do the task. Aside from making it easier to show practice empathy to others, it can also raise the spirits of team members.
Show your vulnerable side.
It is important for leaders to appear strong. But no one said you can’t show vulnerability. In fact, leaders who are honest about their strengths and weaknesses can help others become more comfortable around them. Leaders who share how they overcome past difficulties with others makes it easy for people to share and bond over their own experiences as well.
Anyone who aspires to be a leader should understand the great challenges that come with the role. In fact, if you would ask someone to write down all the traits and attributes that an excellent leader should have, you may end up with a long, never-ending list. One trait that will always be present? Empathy. To aim to be empathetic is always a great idea; it will make you an exceptional leader and a better person, too.