Nowadays, teamwork, coordination and mutual trust are necessary in almost every workplace. This also means that it is very important to have a good leader on the team. However, we are not talking about any type of manager: companies today demand that managerial positions with great responsibility be filled by strong, but especially empathetic, people.
But how does an empathic leadership style differ from other types of leadership? Can we learn the necessary skills or are we born with them? In today’s article we answer these questions.
What is an empathic leadership style?
Leadership is the ability to lead a group of people or an organization. A good manager must have a clear vision of the goals to be achieved and be able to communicate. You must also be able to motivate the team members, to work towards this common goal, and to solve internal conflicts between different group members .
Although all leaders share these qualities in common, there are different types of leaders. Some of them act in such a way that their actions meet their personal needs rather than the needs of the group. Others use manipulative tactics while still others act arrogantly and narcissistically.
On the other hand, a person who exercises an empathic leadership style can put himself in the shoes of his colleagues. Empathetic managers also try to understand the needs of the market and those of consumers and to bring them to a common denominator with those of their own group. In this way, you can give each customer exactly what they need and optimize internal company processes.
An empathetic leader can effectively communicate with the rest of the team and let them know what is needed. He is able to communicate in a way that makes the team want to do the work. Under his leadership, team members develop the feeling that the goals of the company or group are also their own.
How do you develop an empathic leadership style?
According to one study, a person who wishes to acquire an empathic leadership style should develop five skills: empathy, enthusiasm, human warmth, serenity, and the ability to set boundaries. Let’s look at these one by one below.
It seems obvious that a good leader needs to be able to put himself in someone else’s shoes. However, empathy is not just about understanding what another person might need on a rational level, it also includes the ability to understand their feelings. If you want to develop your empathic leadership style, you must also be able to understand how a certain action affects each individual team member.
For many people it is not easy to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. However, recent research shows that it is entirely possible for most people to develop empathy .
A empathetic leader can motivate and inspire the rest of their team. This is because his management style has nothing to do with the fact that colleagues have to do their jobs because he tells them to. Rather, a good leader uses their ability to speak to the inside of their peers so that they feel compelled to meet their obligations.
To achieve this, a person who possesses empathic leadership skills invests a lot of energy and passion in everything that they suggest, begin and complete. In doing so, she manages to set an example for her colleagues.
3. Human warmth
Since the empathic leader is able to put himself in the shoes of another person, he can also offer solutions. Whenever she offers solutions, she is always sensitive, fair and attentive to the individual situations and needs of people.
However, that doesn’t mean she goes to work to make friends. The leader is very warm and knows that it takes a warm person to build relationships between colleagues. This closeness puts the empathetic leader in a privileged position to reinforce the kind of positive attitudes that should motivate a group.
The empathetic leader needs to be able to stay calm in complicated, emotional, or stressful situations. In order to lead his team effectively, he must be a role model for the other team members. If he lets you see his impulsive side, you can lose respect for him.
5. The ability to set boundaries
The final skill that a person with empathic leadership needs to master is to set personal and professional boundaries. Although he can understand the rest of his team, a good leader needs to know how to use himself and, if necessary, keep his distance.
If this is not the case, the leader is not the leader for long. Because the group members will consider him one of their own and he will lose their respect. Therefore, a person who wants to develop an empathic leadership style must be able to communicate well in order to be able to show goals and ways to achieve them with assertiveness.