Leadership with Empathy

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on April 26, 2014

Henry Ford rightly quoted – "If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own." Empathy is one quality that is going to define success of business organizations around the globe in future. If anybody asks me what is the highest virtue of an entrepreneur I would say nothing else but empathy. Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering them.


Empathetic people are superb at recognizing and meeting the needs of clients, customers, or subordinates. They seem approachable, wanting to hear what people have to say. They listen carefully, picking up on what people are truly concerned about, and respond on the mark. Most of the mistakes that have been made in the world have been through a lack of empathy. If one can identify with someone else and empathize with them, the biggest mistake of repeating mistakes can be avoided. To learn from somebody you need empathy. Empathy in the broadest sense refers to the reactions of one individual to the observed experiences of another.

Image Courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net, Boykung

Nowadays most companies not only aspire to maintain high profitability but also aim to be high-flying in various other aspects of business which determines the goodwill of the company among all its stakeholders. Companies seek to come out as employer of choice; stand out as firm with employees who are highly engaged and whose personnel is always updated with the happenings in their business and competitors. And to achieve all these they invest considerably on their human capital. In all this, what could be the biggest asset to the company is nothing but "leadership with empathy". Leaders should develop a culture of empathy. An effective leader of a company is able to successfully drive the company’s vision to each of its executives, people who actually are going to perform the job; and accordingly sets goals of individuals towards the company to align with the company’s goal. In a process the leadership’s traits are also passed on and felt at each employee-level. Thus, when leaders exhibit what is required it becomes easy to percolate it throughout the company. Hence, the prime requirement to build a culture of empathy is to have leadership who knows the value of this virtue and practice it.

Till now this word was not so heard and mentioned in organizations, mostly because it was perceived in the business world as unpractical, time consuming and even as a sign of weakness. Now in this world with neck and neck competition what really is going to distinguish firms is this quality. It builds a competitive advantage for business’ success, and leaders who want to create a climate of trust and collaboration in their organizations will have to be more explicit about the importance of empathy.

Along with education it is important to pursue a hobby. Any hobby has specific element that adds to the development of one’s character and which is not learnt through books. It is a major contributing factor towards the mental and emotional refinement of a person. Most pursuits like arts, photography, etc. lead to an investigation of both the outer and the inner worlds, engendering a receptive mind. Flexibility of one’s mind determines how much a person is refined and refinement is all what speaks about a person’s development in all spheres of his life. It is this virtue from where empathy gets directly engendered.

This article has been authored by Krutika Parmar from School of Petroleum Management


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