In today’s world of leadership, leaders are either hated and feared or appreciated and respected. Why? Most of them use empathy in their group and individual communications. They do not appear wimpy or afraid to pursue action when necessary, by using empathy in their language delivery.

What do we mean by the use of empathy? Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the presence of their situation. Definitions of empathy encompass a broad range of emotional states. Types of empathy include cognition, sensitiveness, somatic, and spiritual existence.

Dr. Michael Alcee, a clinical psychologist with multiple TED Talks to his name, invokes Atticus Finch’s famous turn of phrase from To Kill a Mockingbird when describing empaths: “The empath has a profound empathic imagination, a capacity to know someone deeply … to ‘climb into his skin and walk around in it.’” According to Alcee, “Empathic leaders are well versed in the fluid nature of emotions, and how quickly they can move from one thing to the other, so they aren’t as judgmental of people’s changes. They are more supportive and encouraging of the other person’s process. The primary benefit of this empathic capacity is a richer, fuller, more nuanced appreciation for the strengths and flaws of others, and even a capacity to create a space so that new aspects of themselves can emerge and unfold.”

Further Develop Your Empathic Communication Skills:

  • Augment your attention by practicing self-detachment in the conversation at hand.
  • Be more receptive to what the other person is saying.
  • Refrain from simply assessing the situation and giving suggestions to the speaker.
  • Increase your active listening skills by participating in what the other person states. Make all efforts to view the situation from their perspective.
  • Check whether what you heard and what the other person did not verbalize is correlate. Try not to make assumptions on what they intend.

If you aren’t humble, whatever empathy you claim is false and probably results from some arrogance or the desire to control. But true empathy is rooted in humility and the understanding that there are many people with as much to contribute in life as you.
Anand Mahindra

Are You Using Empathy in Your Communication?