Eric Handler headshot Written by: Eric Handler

Empathy – The Second of Three Core Competencies in Leaders Worth Following

Empathy is the fastest pathway to strong relationships, and one of the three core competencies Handler identified in The 2021 Edition of Leadership Competencies that Leaders Worth Following possess.

It’s also the quality that provides intangible benefits that are the most meaningful to employees. In fact, in an empathy study conducted annually, 80% of respondents said they would switch employers for a more empathetic workplace culture.

Empathy is something readily detectable in candidates who are Leaders Worth Following. Here are three ways empathy is demonstrated:

  1. Empathetic leaders put a high priority on making time for people and understand the value of doing so. Sympathy is often a quick, “I’m so sorry.” In contrast, empathy goes deeper and further by accurately identifying the feelings others are experiencing, and then taking appropriate action to relate, comfort, and assist.
  2. Empathy in Leaders Worth Following shows up as believing the best in people. It is judgment-free, assumption-free relating from shared humanity. At Handler, our culture says, “We are 100% for one another.” A common approach is, “Your weekly report is late again. When can I expect you to be back on track?” An empathetic leader would say, “I notice your weekly report has been late, and that’s so unlike you. Are you okay?”
  3. The capacity to tolerate negativity is a hallmark of mature empathy and its secret to expert conflict resolution. That’s because the act of non-resistance diffuses it. Empathy perceives and relates to the gamut of human emotions and can be summarized as “your pain in my heart.”

Empathy in a Leader Worth Following creates empathy throughout the organization. It will singularly elevate the employer’s ability to attract, engage and retain talent.

TAKE IT ONLINE: Tell us about a time that you expressed or experienced empathy at work on our LinkedIn page.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: Click here to listen to Simon Sinek expand on empathy, from the starting point that, “The real job of leaders is not to be in charge, but to take care of those in our charge.”