Why Empathy Is A Muscle You Can Build
The pandemic brought to the forefront something leaders have always benefited from - the need to lead with empathy. While we were all in the same boat during the pandemic, not all of us were in the same-sized boat.
While we may broadly understand the concept of empathy there is a lack of confidence in how to put into practice leading with empathy at work. In one study of almost 5000 people, only 47% of managers felt prepared to lead with empathy. Empathy is a critical skill to overcome the self-focus that can occur as we progress through our careers.
Exposing ourselves to situations we know will require empathy can also enhance our ability to lead with it. Listening to other people’s stories, especially those with very different lived experiences to your own, helps build empathy. This in turn helps create opportunities for people to share their stories and build personal and professional bonds. This may mean stepping outside of your organisation and understanding the communities you impact whose lived experiences are different from yours.
“Empathy is something we can have a conversation with little kids about because we don’t wake up as an adult empathetic. It is something we need to learn.”
What is something you can do this week to build your empathy muscle?
You can read more in my latest book, Head & Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership, which is available everywhere.