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Empathy Is Not A Weakness, It's A Superpower For Leaders

Written by: Ahmad Al Cheikh Hassan, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


"Leaders who practice empathy create a positive work environment that attracts top talent."

Empathy is a choice, and it's a vulnerable choice. Because in order to connect with you, I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling." Brené Brown

Leadership is more than just managing people and resources. A great leader is someone who can inspire and motivate their team towards success, and one key aspect of that is practicing empathy.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, and it is a crucial skill for leaders to have in order to build a positive work environment and improve employee experience, This isn't the same thing as sympathy which is about feeling sorry for someone else, We've done a pretty good job of building sympathetic organizations but a very poor job of building empathetic ones. In an increasingly technology-driven world one of the most important things we can do is to be more human, and that starts with empathy.

When leaders practice empathy, they create a culture of trust, respect, and open communication. By listening to their team members and understanding their perspectives, leaders can gain valuable insights into what motivates and challenges their employees. This allows them to tailor their leadership style to better meet the needs of their team, leading to higher engagement, better performance, and increased job satisfaction.

Empathy not only improves the employee experience, but it also has a positive impact on organizational performance. Studies have shown that companies with empathetic leaders have higher levels of employee engagement, lower turnover rates, and better financial performance.

in order to practice empathy, you need to be in either a neutral or similar state to the other person in order to practice empathy. A neutral state is exactly what it sounds like, you're not particularly upset about anything, nor are you excited about anything. As you can imagine, if someone comes to you with a problem and you are in the middle of a big argument with your spouse or you just received a big promotion, it might be a bit hard for you to empathize with that person.

Remember that empathy doesn't work when you need to make a quick decision so if you want to practice some bonus techniques focus on asking for the time you need to make a decision. Practice saying "let me get back to you on this in a few hours" so that you can take the time you need to process the information and respond accordingly.

Here are some examples of how empathy can be practiced by leaders:

1. Active Listening:

One way to practice empathy is to actively listen to your employees. This means putting away your phone, computer, or any other distractions and giving your undivided attention to the person speaking to you. Encourage your employees to speak freely and without interruption, and then summarize what they said to ensure you have fully understood their perspective.

For example, you might say something like, "I understand that you are feeling frustrated because you are not getting the support you need from your team. Is that correct?"

2. Leading by Example:

Leaders who demonstrate empathy in their interactions with employees can create a ripple effect throughout the organization. By modeling empathy, leaders can inspire their teams to treat each other with kindness, respect, and understanding.

For example, if you see an employee who is struggling with a difficult task, you might take the time to offer guidance and support, even if it is not directly related to your own work.

3. Customizing Communication:

Not everyone communicates in the same way, and it is important for leaders to recognize this and tailor their communication style to meet the needs of their team members. Some employees might prefer direct, no-nonsense communication, while others might respond better to a more collaborative, empathetic approach. By recognizing and accommodating these differences, leaders can build stronger relationships with their teams.

For example, you might send a quick message to check in on an employee who you know is going through a tough time, or you might invite a team member to share their thoughts and opinions in a meeting to show that their input is valued.

4. Showing Gratitude:

Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to be engaged and motivated at work. One way to show gratitude is to recognize and reward employees for their contributions. This can be as simple as saying "thank you" for a job well done or offering praise in a team meeting.

For example, you might highlight an employee's accomplishments in a company-wide newsletter or offer a bonus for a particularly successful project.

These are just a few examples of how leaders can practice empathy to improve the employee experience. By making a conscious effort to understand and support their team members, leaders can create a positive work environment that fosters collaboration, creativity, and growth.

"Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another." ‒ Alfred Adler.

In conclusion, empathy is a key component of effective leadership. Leaders who practice empathy can build a positive work environment, improve employee experience, and drive organizational success. By actively listening, communicating clearly, showing appreciation, and being open to feedback, leaders can create a culture of empathy and trust that benefits everyone in the organization.

Always practice empathy because it's the foundation of great leadership.

Thank you for Reading.


Ahmad Al Cheikh Hassan, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

My name is Ahmad Al Cheikh Hassan, working in the HR department field for more than 12 years, my main passion to create culture and encourage the real mental shift of leaders toward focusing on people first, people are the heart and engine of any organization, foster this positive culture needs mental shift, and I am eager to follow my strives that care, appreciate, motivate and recognize the people in order to achieve better outcomes and to have a positive impact for the overall business.



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