Empathy Is The Most Important Leadership Skill

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Empathy Is The Most Important Leadership Skill


In today’s world where all are reeling under the emotional pressure caused by the pandemic, more than ever before it is essential that human skills are required to manage your employees well.

With all this empathy has emerged as the most essential skill for a leader today to take things to next level and give meaning to their role in a better manner with human touch.

It is indeed a far-reaching approach that enables in touching another human beyond what is formal soft skill approach, but it does helps in fetching desired business results.

Why empathy?

We all are aware how empaths are easily able to manage stressful people, same goes in the business arena where a group of employees need someone to understand them beyond their mechanical role.

When the leader is capable of demonstrating empathy, it breeds positivity among people. As per the latest research the importance of this trait is related to employee retention and this indeed is an innovative way of increasing employee retention rate in any company.

A fine mix of all the skills that a leader requires can be defined as: performance, engagement, happiness and empathy, the top of the list that is a must leadership skill these days.

How stress effects emotional health?

Empathy is an essential tool especially at times when people are stressed out, as per a data it is the result of the pandemic that dramatically changed the lives and work of many.

  • Qualtrics conducted a global study and the results are astonishing: 42% experienced declining mental health, 67% experienced increasing stress, 57% complained of anxiety issues flare up while 54% were all time emotionally exhausted.

12 to 15 % have trouble thinking straight and managing job responsibilities with home front routine, 28% complain of lack of focus, 53% people are at all time emotional low, 50% are always displaying irritability and 20% people are not able to perform better.

  • It is a psychological phenomenon wherein when a person stressed out at work suffers with sleepless nights. As per an Illinois university research, employees receiving rude emails tend to dip low in negativity and as a result their personal lives are affected especially with their partners.

Additionally, people who encounter discourtesy at their work place develop a feeling of being a bad parent to their children.

  • Research related to workplace behavior and productivity revealed that people who are constantly at the receiving end of rude behavior suffer from performance issues and are incapacitated in helping others out. Additionally reduced productivity, incapable of collaboration results in bad customer experience eventually decreased turnover.

Empathy is positivity

A study conducted on 889 employees revealed some surprising numbers that cannot be denied as people experience stress and tough times while struggling with frequent emotional burnout trying to find some happiness at their workplace:

  • Leaders displaying empathy enabled 61% people in showing innovative trait as compared to 13% employees who were exposed to less empathic leaders.
  • 76% people reported feeling engaged with the company on a positive level when they worked with an empathic leader compared to 32% who were a part of another group where they worked with less empathy.
  • Retention rates increased significantly with 57% (white women) and 62% (women of color) who were less likely to think of leaving their current jobs and company where they felt respected at work and were appreciated as a value addition to the company. Opposite to it 14% (white women) and 30% (women of color) were most likely to quit an environment where they felt no or less empathy.
  •  17% people never felt a part of the company where there was no empathy and 50% felt inclusivity where they experienced empathetic leaders.
  • Striking balance of work and personal life became easy for 86% people with empathic leaders while 60% complained of quite the opposite with less empathy.

Introducing empathy as a skill within the work place is like giving human touch to the work environment and it fosters an environment of cooperation among employees.

Can Empathy be inborn trait?

It does seem so as per the Lund University where they observed that 2yo kids are able to demonstrate this trait and have different perspectives on personal level.

As per University of Virginia, the report revealed that when people see their friends in a situation of threat they experience a massive activity in a significant part of their brain that affects their personal makeup as if they are threatened on personal level.

It is now evident from these research and reports that empathy is something that is an essential part of our personal makeup and a trait that affects our work and personal lives.

Empathy and Leadership

  • Stepping into the shoes of another is what empathy is all about; you don’t need to be a mental health professional to figure it out.
  • Think about how it would affect you if you were put in the same position.
  • What you say vs what you do either bridges the gap or creates it further. It is essential to walk the talk rather than just do a lip service of saying you are there for them.
  • A good leader always appreciates ideas and point of view of others as well.

In conclusion to it all positive work relationships and productivity levels go up with empathy as an essential leadership skill. This is the new work norm and considering it does wonders to employees and the company as well.