Empathy and Leadership: Strength or Weakness?

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Author: Future Manager Research Center

Empathy is hardly associated with the figure of the leader or manager, since it is often considered a symptom of fragility and weakness. Actually, it can be a starting point on which a solid and effective leadership can be build.

The key to success and to the creation of a harmonious environment in the workplace is empathy. A leader certainly cannot ignore the fact that human resources are the basis of any type of business.

Interacting with the staff, the manager must be able to understand its needs, difficulties and problems, in an attempt to fill the excessive gap that is created between different roles within the company.

Assuming an empathic attitude also means facing up to any kind of confrontation in the workplace, embracing the employees’ perspective and, if necessary, also trying to empathise. It is important, in these cases, to be able to contextualize the contents and to be completely transparent in communication.

Adopting a direct, correct and empathetic approach can therefore consolidate the relationship with the staff, who feels not only understood, but also acknowledges more easily and willingly the indications.

In fact, establishing an empathic culture generates greater commitment and loyalty on the part of employees, who are more likely to stay in the company for a long time. As a result, the redundancy rate also decreases.

In light of the problems that emerged following the spread of the pandemic, the “empathic culture” can no longer be neglected. It is opposed to the “culture of fear” perpetrated by the more traditionalist managers. Paradoxically, adopting empathy as the founding principle of your leadership is not a weakness, but rather it can increase the level of performance and productivity of your staff.