Some bosses seem to completely lack empathy. Not only does this make life pretty miserable for their employees, empathy turns out to be very important to leadership success as well. The good news, we can increase empathy.
So why is it that some bosses are great and others are so bad? One big reason is an empathy deficit that seems to get worse the higher up you go in an organization. In Robb Smith’s TED talk he notes how CEOs have the lowest emotional intelligence in the entire workforce. Empathy, what Dianne Stober calls, “one of the most basic capacities required for understanding one another,” is often lacking in leaders. Oh yeah, and it matters to business success! Forbes notes that “the reality is that for business leaders to experience success, they need to not just see or hear the activity around them, but also relate to the people they serve.” We already know how important engagement is, and you can imagine how much engagement falls off around a lack of empathy. Just think of the shift in engagement when being told to Skype in to a funeral!
With empathy so important, how does one develop this quality that seems elusive to so many leaders? In Ginny Whitelaw’s latest book, The Zen Leader, she describes how to boast empathy in her chapter on the flip From Controlling to Connecting. She describes how the energy patterns of FEBI can be a power tool to help summon real empathy that fully allows you to ‘become the other person.’
by Anthony Attan