"Successful leaders lead with the heart, not just the head. They possess qualities like empathy, compassion and courage. They also have the ability to establish deep, long-term and genuine relationships where others trust them.." — BIll George
It has been said, “You can’t truly love another before you learn to love yourself.” Organizations are no different. If we don’t love and respect and admire the people we work with every day, we can’t collectively give our customers the love they deserve. Empathy is an inside-out job.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes and walk a mile. It’s the ability to imagine what it might be like to experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions, and experience of the other person. Empathy is more than simple sympathy, which is being able to understand and support others with compassion or sensitivity.
Some people naturally exude empathy and have an advantage over their peers who have difficulty expressing empathy. Most leaders fall in the middle and are sometimes or somewhat empathetic. Fortunately, empathy is not a fixed trait. It can be learned. If given enough time and support, leaders can develop and enhance their empathy skills through coaching, training, or developmental opportunities and initiatives.
Build a culture of empathy. Empathy is an essential component of caring about your customers, your employees, and your company, and its absence signals larger problems in organizational culture. Empathy can’t be plastered on like a fake smile, but it can be cultivated from within.