- Nancy Mendelson
Welcome to the Age of Empathy
Upon reading the article, Empathy Is The Most Important Leadership Skill According To Research, on Forbes.com, I blurted out, “It’s about effing’ time!”
While the only beneficiaries of this outburst were our 2 cats, Barney and Ozzy who hang out with me in my office, my feeling of profound vindication was, well…exhilarating. You see, for years, I was often told “you’re too sensitive; you have to develop a thicker skin; feelings don’t belong in the workplace; you have to get tougher; your team will think you’re weak.”
“BULLSHIT!” I’d think to myself as I was being lectured. If being an empathetic leader is wrong, then I don’t want to be right! There was no way I was ever going to change my management style to accommodate any organization that cared solely about ROI, and not ROR--return on relationship—as well.
Developing empathy is crucial for establishing relationships and behaving compassionately. It involves experiencing another person’s point of view, rather than just one’s own, and enables prosocial or helping behaviors that come from within, rather than being forced, according to Psychology Today.
“Empathetic leadership means having the ability to understand the needs of others, and being aware of their feelings and thoughts. Unfortunately, it has long been a soft skill that’s overlooked as a performance indicator,” reads an article from The Center for Creative Leadership, that goes on to say, “
Our research, however, has shown that today’s successful leaders must be more “person-focused” and able to work well with people from varying teams, departments, countries, cultures, and backgrounds.
Although I wish this notion would have been embraced while I was working in the corporate world, I am truly thrilled for leaders, both present and future, that the age of disruption and spreadsheet management is winding down: This is the dawning of the age of empathy!!! Peace out!