Empathy, the capacity to understand another person’s perspective and feelings, is often described as the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. But don’t confuse empathy with making people happy or being nice.
Empathy is a skill that enables leaders to scan large sets of data and establish priorities, sorting out what’s noise and what’s essential information by assessing signals, anomalies and novel patterns that compel their attention. For those who master it, employing empathy produces many benefits.
It provides a productive feedback mechanism for leaders, enabling them to know if the people they’re trying to reach are actually being reached. It helps predict the impact of a leader’s decisions and actions on target audiences so the leader may strategize accordingly.
Empathy helps discover the root cause behind poor performance, or what motivates excellence. It allows leaders to build and develop relationships with those they lead. Without it, a leader cannot inspire followers, elicit loyalty or build a cohesive team.
Empathy is essential in negotiations and sales, exposing the aspirations and risk tolerance of those on the otherside.
It’s an effective data gathering tool which enables leaders to understand the human environment that drives business…building relationships, resolving differences, strengthening commitment, exposing motivations, improving predictions, refining tactics, clarifying communications and inspiring loyalty.
How effectively are you employing empathy?