Can You Be A Good Leader If You Lack Empathy?
The article below was originally written to address a broad observation, and then it dawned on me that in order to be a good leader one must possess the gift of empathy. Without this gift, it’s impossible to have a conducive working environment.
I have worked for bosses who stay stuck in the role of the victim by blaming every problem within the workplace on their employees and finding one cohort who will basically stroke the boss’s ego; which keeps the pattern an on going issue.
A good leader with the critical skill of empathy understands the workplace is composed of team members; all of who have different attributes, and unique experiences. A good leader also understands it’s vital to the team that they are treated more like family members verses just being ‘employees’ who are easily replaceable. A good leader who is able to operate with the gift of empathy has a great team who probably looks forward to coming to work.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
―Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t
Life can be very difficult at times, and we all cope differently when experiencing stress, anxiety, depression etc.. However, I have noticed there is one common bond some share that are empathetic souls. Those who are empaths are almost always able to put aside their own problems, worries, tears and fears if even for 5 minutes to reach out to another and let them know they care. Reaching out is as simple as a phone call. We all go through tough times where it might be hard to pick up the phone, but empathetic people don’t let those hard times keep them from being there for others and also realize that by doing so they aren’t thinking about their own problems.
There are some who say, “I will pray for you,” or send a note telling you “Please know I’m thinking of you,” “Please tell so & so I’m thinking of them,” well that's so sweet, but they are just empty words without actions to back them up.
Eventually, when some people hear these words over and over without true action, you become numb. The words are meaningless. Because, that’s all they are, JUST WORDS.
I used to think (subconsciously) through my own actions that others would be there just the same during difficult times. Through observation and maturation I’ve learned that’s just not true. Sadly, some people want to cling to their victim status and are never able to return what I consider a simple act of kindness- humanity, and just reach out when you're unable to be the person that is usually the one ‘looking out for, and reaching out to’ others.
I’ve always been aware that with each individual there are deep differences, but I’m also equally aware that many do share the simple gift of being an empathetic person. I know many people who are going through difficult times, and yet they still put others first. I have so much respect for people who are able to do that.
The world would be a much nicer place if some people were able to let go of their victim status. Again, personal observation has allowed me to understand that by continuing to be stuck in the role of a victim is also a recipe for anger and resentment. We can’t lead from within if we are carrying an inferno inside of ourselves. We can’t feel empathy if we are unable to put out the fire.
Please know “I’m thinking of you.”
Original Article was edited on 4/4/2016
Originally published at www.linkedin.com.