Often confused with pity, empathy might sound like a soft, fuzzy emotion that drains us of time and energy. Actually, it’s quite the contrary — it’s an incredibly valuable tool for today’s leaders. Brene Brown, a well-known sociologist and the author of “Daring Greatly,” says empathy involves connecting with the emotion someone is experiencing, not the event or circumstance.
“It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone,'” Brown writes.
I knew my response in Haiti couldn’t just be about the damage of the earthquake itself; it had to be about resonating with the feelings of hopelessness my team was experiencing. Empathy is useful not only in natural disasters but also in healing wounds associated with difficult business situations.