Great leaders have a lot of qualities and characteristics that make them very influential. Leaders are visionaries who inspire others to share in the same vision and goal. However, leaders must have the ability to meet people where they are currently and bring them up to be the best version of themselves. To understand people better, leaders must have empathy. Empathy is simply the ability to put one’s self in the shoes of another person and understand what that person is feeling or going through. Empathetic people consider how others feel and always regard the perspectives of those around them. Empathy is essential to leadership and is one of the main factors that draw the line between a dictator and a leader. The following are a few reasons why empathy matters as a leader:
“The best bosses are people who are trustworthy, empathetic, and connected, who make us feel calm, appreciated, and inspired. The worst – distant, difficult, and arrogant – make us feel uneasy at best and resentful at worst.” – Daniel Goleman
Empathy is essential for leaders because it allows them to be more considerate of the views and feelings of those around them. If a leader is only concerned with their own selfish interest, employees will feel overlooked and unappreciated. This lack of job satisfaction tends to show up in a variety of ways. Empathy helps boost employee morale and allow employees to enjoy their work as their leader is of service to their employees’ needs.
Better Work Quality and Production
When employee morale is depreciated, work quality and work production usually suffer. It’s difficult for many people to be in the headspace to complete a job at their full capacity if they are feeling defeated. Instead of communication being one-sided, empathy gives leaders the needed perspective to connect with their employees and make the necessary accommodations to resolve any presenting issues. This allows employees to focus on their individual responsibilities without having to stress about their needs being met. Production and work quality are at its best when employees are enjoying their work as empathy will resolve compliance problems.
Building Interpersonal Relationships
It’s important for employees to trust each other and for them to trust their leader. Interpersonal relationships are strengthened as a result of employing empathy. When everyone’s needs are prioritized, everyone gets along a lot better and the team works more as a cohesive unit. Employees don’t have to worry about favoritism or comparing themselves to other employees who may be receiving different treatment from their leader.