Leadership Tips: Empathy Is Key

from Forbes

For everything that goes into products and marketing and every other aspect of your company, running a business is very much a proposition about people. Facing outward, it’s about convincing people to buy your product, partner with you, invest in you; internally, it’s about the work done by the people you bring in and the relationships that enable everyone to work together. Any leader or manager can be said to be as much a manager of people as tasks and responsibilities, and part of effective management is being able to understand and connect with co-workers and employees, often on a personal level. 

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20 Responses to Leadership Tips: Empathy Is Key

  1. Javier Tovar September 6, 2019 at 6:47 pm #

    Empathy is a very important aspect when it comes to society and how we interact with one another. Even though I personally haven’t seen empathy used in the workplace often, this article has shown how crucial it is to society and to people who are leaders. Mary Juetten makes a great case for why “Empathy is Key” for anyone with a leadership position in workplaces. If we can’t feel empathy, then are we even human? In many American films there is always the same layout for the protagonist. They are struggling with their personal lives and begin to under-perform at work. Once that happens, they are usually fired on the spot no questions asked. In 2019, the people of the world has become so desensitized not only to violence, but to each other. Empathy is very hard to come by in a world that gives absolutely no one a break.
    Even though empathy seems to be diminishing among society, it is necessary for us humans to consistently utilize it to connect with others especially in business. It is very crucial for a leader to not only show empathy, but to feel it. Empathy is something that makes everyone human. Without empathy, we would all be too selfish to accomplish anything or be able to work together. There is a huge connection between empathy and performance. A leader needs to be able to connect to his employees if he wants them to perform to the best of their ability. If an employee feels that their boss or supervisor doesn’t feel for them or cares, they will not be able to carry the motivation necessary for excelling at their job. Being empathetic doesn’t only make the leader more human but it also benefits production for their business because of it. Empathy is important to keeping your team strong and unified. If a leader fired an employee every time, they weren’t performing their best, it wouldn’t be as productive as stepping in their shoes and finding out what is the source of the under-performance. I also believe as a leader empathy is important when dealing with other buildings and other companies. If you can’t feel empathy, you can’t fully connect with other human beings; which can be very bad for business if you can’t connect with a client or a business partner.

  2. Mikaela Battaglia September 13, 2019 at 4:51 pm #

    This article is very powerful, especially reading it in today’s society. The United States is an individualistic society, with everyone wanting to be their own person and follow their own ambitions and dreams without being tied down to a family or job. However, this is also a downfall of our country. Unlike many South American and even European countries that are family-oriented, everyone in America wants to do best for themselves. As selfish as this sounds (and it is selfish), it has not only shown many people’s character, but it has also caused a lack of empathy on many levels.
    The very popular UK turned American TV series “The Office” was almost a one season long show. This is because the manager of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch, Michael Scott, was a complete jerk to his employees. While the show had just begun and the creators were still trying to figure out their characterization, this single character flaw almost ended the show. No one wanted to watch a boss that is a jerk to their staff. However, as the show progressed Michael Scott became a fan favorite because of his big heart and empathy for others, even if he was not the most conventional boss. Not only was he a fan favorite, but when he left the show his employees were heartbroken, because Scott was able to understand them on a personal level as well as a professional one, which is what any employee is looking for in their boss.
    As Juetten makes clear in her article, a good boss is not one that just pays their workers but one that is able to connect with them on a personal level, to understand what each and every employees’ individual needs are. While this skill may be difficult for any manager to master, it is one that is highly coveted in any career path. Natural leaders are ones who are able to take control of a group of people, and command the attention in the room when they walk in. They are respected and maybe even seen as intimidating. But, a good leader is not only all of those things, they are also able to listen to everyone’s input and value their opinions instead of pushing them aside.

  3. Nicole Shubaderov September 16, 2019 at 5:17 pm #

    As the article states, empathy is the key to success. In a world where we are all trying to achieve greatness, we cannot be stiff and treat other people inhumanely. It is of utmost importance that people in such leadership positions respect their coworkers/employees as well as help support them during their hardships and praise them during their successes. From personal experience, I had a boss for the past year who was sexist and continuously degraded his employees. There was no empathy present and we became less motivated to do our jobs because of this. It is this lack of empathy that caused a disconnect between my boss and his employees. This lead to the failure of the Wayne YMCA aquatics department as well as the quitting of many hard workers. I lost many hard-working friends this past summer due to his negligence and his inability to connect with his workers. To lack empathy in the workforce is a horrible trait to have, especially as a person with a leadership position. I fully believe that things would have played out differently if only my boss was more compassionate and understanding of his employees. Such actions would have been listening to them when they had a concern with the program or their salary, helping individuals when emergencies arose and being a much friendlier and approachable person. Currently, my new boss shows empathy to all his employees and the dynamic of the department had improved greatly. Although we are out many people who used to work many hours, the worry right now is to continue to treat the other employees properly and to help restore the department to its old successful state.

    Although my job is not as professional as working in a firm with high-level CEOs, this is a minor example that portrays what happens when people in high positions do not show empathy and respect to their employees and coworkers. As humans, we need compassion and respect. But with the drive for success pushing people to their limits, empathy decreases and the performance of work as well as the quality of life does so as well. The process of self-growth involves making mistakes and learning from those mistakes. If that individual’s boss is short-tempered and fires someone after they make a mistake, how is he expected to learn and grow as a person? All because we graduate college and accept a position at a firm or a corporation, it does not make us perfect. For this very reason, making mistakes and having someone such as your boss to support your back through this learning process is important. As Mary Juetton wrote in her article, individuals with leadership positions must start to be more empathetic with their employees. Life is not all about being solely focused on work. With work comes interpersonal skills, such as talking with people and growing bonds with them. The better the communication and empathy that is conducted in the workforce, the better the work performance and quality of life that the employees will have. Without empathy we are nothing, and without anything, we cannot be successful.

  4. Keara Prystash September 17, 2019 at 10:15 am #

    The power this article has especially in the United States today is what I found to make it so easy to relate to. Every person wants to be the best version of themselves and for many that means leading a group of people in some facet, whether that be friends, coworkers, subordinates, family or friends. However, this can cause struggles as many individuals become so consumed with power and leadership that their personal relationships ultimately struggle. Due to the fact of how individualistic our culture is this need and wish to succeed individually often causes a lack in empathy for other people whom we come in contact with which is very unfortunate. Most people watch shows, movies or even have come into contact with “jerk” bosses themselves which often make them hate that specific character or individual. Jetten does make a point to address in her article that “a good boss is not one that just pays their workers but one that is able to connect with them on a personal level.” While I personally agree with that statement I do also think this may vary by individual, their personality and what they look for in a boss or supervisor in a current role. For example, if the job is not intended to be long term or a person is very antisocial having those deep relationships may not matter to them. I do believe this empathetic skill that Jetten mentions is hard but for those who are in long term jobs or roles with individuals they spend tremendous amount of time with, I think can benefit those leaders in any leadership role they may encounter. The respect, a leader can garner from simply listening to and valuing the opinions of their coworkers and subordinates is overwhelming.

  5. Ryan L September 17, 2019 at 8:39 pm #

    Something that really stuck with me from this article was the idea that it is easy to keep people happy by rewarding them, but it is much harder to actually understand what they want as a reward and why they want it. This is the “peak” of leadership that every manager should shoot for, and the spot that so many managers miss. We all hear the stories of the bad bosses or people saying “I hate the job, but the pay is just too good to pass up.” Maybe that is the wrong way to think about it. Leaders need to understand their employees in order to maximize productivity and overall happiness, for both managers and their employees. The article explained a few ways we can go about practicing empathy as leaders that I agree with wholeheartedly.
    The first way, as cliche as it is, is to “put yourself in their shoes”. It is far too easy to judge someone based on the way their actions look from the outside. What we should do instead of just jumping to conclusions is to consider what is actually causing someone to act a certain way. This is something that would not only benefit us in the workplace, but in our daily lives as well. So many times we encounter people who are just unpleasant to be around. They could be rude, insulting, even unbearable; but how often do we stop and really wonder why? Maybe that person has extreme insecurities and that is their way to compensate for those, or maybe they just went through a difficult breakup and that is the way they deal with those emotions. Whatever the issue might be, it is imperative to actually get to the bottom of the issue itself, not just put a patch over the surface. As managers and humans, we need to take this idea with us. It would not only help all of our employees have a better, more productive work experience, it would relieve stress and aggravation off of managers as well.
    The other way of having more empathy in the workplace that moved me was the idea of genuinely caring for coworkers and employees. Meaning, sometimes taking the work completely out of it, and just having a genuine dialogue with them expressing that you support them as a human being. This idea is the one that could change the world of leadership as we know it. It is common to just feel like a cog in the machine at work. People feel like they really do not matter, and that immediately kills their motivation. This leads into a whole “snowball effect” where less motivation causes less productivity, which means the boss comes and asks for more effort, which makes you feel even more like a cog, and it goes on and on. But what if this ‘boss’ had come in to speak to that person and rather than telling them to speed it up, explained how much they valued them, and genuinely asked them if they were OK? The issue could have been solved easily, in little time at all, just with a little bit of empathy and care. In my opinion, that is the future of leadership.

  6. Alen Del Valle September 20, 2019 at 12:49 pm #

    After reading this article, I realized how important it is to have a strong relationship with your coworkers. In order to work together efficiently, there has to be a strong connection between the two workers because they have to come together and work as one unit. It is also good to connect with everyone you work with because maybe you could help them if there is something going wrong in their personal life.
    Empathy is essential for getting to know someone and learning things from their point of view. Everyone has different hardships in their life and sometimes, not everyone gets why you are feeling how you are. In the article, the writer talks about an old saying that says,” ‘Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.’ ” That saying always made me realize that everyone has their own story and are going through things that no one even knows about. Being empathetic can help you out in the real world because it shows that you care and are trying to understand what someone is telling you. This could help you build a strong relationship and possibly create a lifelong connection.
    Something that is also touched on in the article is empathy is a good trait to have in a leadership role. It is always good to have a strong relationship with someone higher than you. For example, an employee having a good connection with their boss may have a positive impact on both of them. Someone in a leadership role should be able to deal with problems and distractions that are making their employees not work to their full potential. A reason for someone not doing their part of a job could because they have something else on their mind and can not seem to focus on the task at hand. Instead of firing people since they have the power to, it is important for leaders to help find out why they are not doing their job and try to help them and see if they can get them to talk about it. The person struggling can be an amazing worker but there is something just holding them down, so it would not be a smart idea to just fire them.
    At the end of the day, we should all try to see people’s lives from their perspective. Everyone has issues they have to overcome and should be able to confide in someone who they have a connection with and could possibly help them with the problems they are facing. Especially in the workplace, people’ personal lives can affect their performance at their job. It is important for leaders to be able to help their employees and try to have them talk about what is on their minds. In order for business to run smoothly, employees and their bosses should be on the same page and try to help each other through the hard times.

  7. Maeve L September 20, 2019 at 6:26 pm #

    I like this article because I think that it is important for everyone to understand whether they are in a leadership position or even in business. Empathizing with the people you interact is essential in all aspects of life. This article stuck out to me in particular from my swimming background. Being in a team has made me realize how important caring about other people and understanding them is. The article talks about using empathy to remember the people you are working with are human and their behavior might have an explanation that you cannot necessarily tell from their actions. Juetten uses the example of a lazy worker. At first you may think it is just because they are lazy; however, there could be many other reasons for their low productivity like insomnia. If a leader were to look at the situation and use empathy to realize that there might be much more going on in someone’s life beyond what we can see, their reaction to the situation would be different and more effective because they could actually properly help the person. I found this to relate to me because in swimming someone might look like they are not giving 100% which would make me upset, but I have to realize that just like me there are days when things outside of the pool are going on that may be affecting. Realizing that others are human like us, and like us we may have things going on unknown to others is important because it will help us have more appropriate reactions to situations.
    In the article, Juetten explains that in order to truly motivate people you have to understand what people actually want and the reason behind that desire; to do this requires empathy. People do not always associate having empathy for one’s employees as being beneficial for the company on a business side; however, in reality, increasing employee motivation will help them produce better work which will benefit the company financially. I thought it was interesting to realize that when a leader rewards someone but does not realize what they truly want, they are just giving them what the leader themselves would want which actually is not as motivating. It requires empathy to be able to understand the other person instead of just looking at what you want.

  8. DeVante M. September 20, 2019 at 6:26 pm #

    This article was very interesting to me. Growing up I have always seen myself as someone who is a leader. I don’t often follow others leads because I am confident in my own leadership capabilities. At my current part-time job I started as a lot attendant at a car dealership. This basically means that I am obligated to take care of the lot itself. I also pretty much do all the other things the company needs in order to run successfully. This includes many other things such as cleaning cars, taking out trash, cleaning the floors, driving cars to different dealerships, and pretty much anything they ask of me. Shortly after being hired I presumed a leadership role at the car dealership. It did not take long for the dealership to recognize my leadership qualities. Some of the qualities that they mentioned to me was my ability to complete tasks before they even ask me to do them, my initiative is what lead me to success at the company. My leadership roles include scheduling of other lot attendants and making sure they achieve their duties. This can be complicated at times because most of the time I am at school. I believe the workers still respect and listen to me because I am fair and often times empathetic of their needs. This relates closely to the article I read “Leadership Tips : Empathy Is Key.” I chose this article because it is very relatable to my life. The author makes a lot of good points. One great point the author made about empathy is that “the greatest empathy we can display is in offering others both our support in their personal problems, and the space to deal with those issues as needed.” The author also went on to talk about how many managers have no idea what their workers may be going through. One person may not be doing well due to many reasons, whether I’d be personal reasons or work related. These things must be considered if a manager wants to get the most out of his or her workers. The author also mentioned how the easiest thing a “leader” can do is fire their workers instead of trying to better understand what they’re situation is. I have found this to be true in my work ventures. I have had many people who work under me ask for time off for personal reasons. Most of the time I Will allow it because there are a lot of serious issues someone could be experiencing. I’ve also noticed when one of my workers may seem distant or upset. Typically I’ll ask them whats wrong, or what I could do to better understand what they’re upset about. I believe this is the best thing I can do. It’s important to let someone know they care, especially in the workplace when things can get intense at times. This article ultimately taught me what i’ve already known, but I do believe that it is important to reinforce these principles from time to time.

  9. Samuel Kihuguru September 20, 2019 at 8:31 pm #

    The concern for empathy in the work space has been a silent but heavily pressing matter of consideration for many businesses that have been used to the “take it or beat it” approach to professional work ethic. The problem addressed in this article is one that sets a soft landing for the universal reminder that we are all human. Beyond sharing the same likeness of our common ancestors, we share the same desire for finding satisfaction in the small and grandeur aspects of our lives. I appreciate the fact that the article differentiates between having a general need for security, happiness, well-being, food and shelter, but having seasons for distinct needs for specific issues that can only be addressed with by an active listener. These concepts are more crucial now in the workplace, because of the way in which the age of information has made companies gravitate towards lower average costs of production – in how they recruit, the scope of their business and their ability to utilize machinery in exchange for expensive labor force. Employers who assume a empathetic role in how they engage, understand and lead their employees sets the bar for a company’s trademark in service and human-orientated work-life. It is also important for leaders to be able to learn about from the wealth of human experience. Putting yourself in your employees’ shoes is often a difficult practice, especially when said employee might exhibit out of character or unprofessional mannerisms, which for many old-time firms would be an immediate call for discipline and/or dismissal. But social awareness bears much fruit in the positive impact employees receive from higher-level staff, who show that beyond the numbers, reports and AGMs, they want to know how your day went and what they can do to improve it. I see immense potential in this dynamic approach to human relations and believe it would have long-lasting effects on what we consider the “hot” factor in company attraction.

  10. Noelle Arrighi September 21, 2019 at 2:41 pm #

    Empathy is far more than something than a word stressed in elementary and middle school as an attempt to avoid bullying and misbehaving. There is an art in treating people how you want to be treated, and is not something that should ever be overlooked, whether in school or the workplace. Being empathetic is often something that gets lost in today’s fast-paced needy society, when in reality it is this society that needs empathy more than ever. Mary Juetten worded it perfectly in her piece, “Leadership Tips: Empathy is Key,” when she stated, “But it can be easily lost in the push for more and better, the ultimately selfish drive that compels any entrepreneur to go into business for themselves. The continual look inward for answers, for drive and ambition, can cause even the best of us to lose some of our connection and consideration for others” (Juetten). Society has changed so that people have become selfish instead of selfless. While there is nothing wrong with personal growth and self improvement, there is no need to disregard those around you to do this. Consumer culture is to blame for this, it seems like people can never be satisfied anymore, they always need more, and will do whatever it takes to get there. If people put these thoughts aside and were more empathetic this would not be as large of a problem. People would want success and achievement for others too as opposed to just themselves. This is how a leader should be, they should want to be a successful leader, but also want those that they leave to find success. This translates to a leader that people will want to be led by, they will enjoy what their leader asks of them knowing it is not only in the best interest of the leader, but those whom he or she is leading. Everyone should strive to be more empathetic, it is very eye-opening and insightful, the connections empathetic people make are deeper and richer than those who are selfish and surface-level. An empathetic leader will give whomever he or she is leading the benefit of the doubt, instead of being pessimistic and selfish. For instance, if someone’s work ethic is not up to par on a certain day, a good empathetic leader would not resort to the worst case scenario and talk it out with them to try to reach an agreeable solution. This will create a cordial relationship and set a precedent in the future which will foster a happier and more comfortable work environment. This is so simple and is all in the hands of the leader, being a leader is not a challenging task, however, being a good leader can be, and the first step to becoming a good leader is expressing empathy.

  11. Halli Schwartz September 23, 2019 at 10:27 pm #

    In the article entitled “Leadership Tips: Empathy Is Key,” written by Mary Juetten, the power of empathy is discussed. When dealing with any situation, one always would prefer if empathy was displayed; that is, everyone in any situation put each other in the other’s shoes. In marketing, a marketer can look at their clientele, and form an advertisement that they will relate to. In leadership, empathy can be shown by not prejudging anyone’s attitude or work ethic. Without empathy, life would be somewhat bland, and kind of unpleasant. If no one treats others with empathy, then the meaning of their actions could be misconceptualized. Therefore, by using empathy, a leader, among anyone, can connect with individuals, and make a system run much more smoothly. No one knows what is going on in others’ lives, and therefore, they need to understand that everything that happens may not be what is actually meant to. In other words, events in one’s life can affect how they work, and without acting with empathy, a leader could be perceived as insensitive. By not anticipating why someone is doing what they are, and acting with kindness and empathy, a leader can assist in their own effective nature.

    When reading this article I was reminded of two different leaders that I have encountered. The first leader that I have had was a manager at a job I once had. This manager unfortunately did not act with empathy, and was the ultimate reason that I left this position. No matter what situation I have at home or in my life, I try to leave it at the door of my workplace. However, sometimes the stress of life can seep into my actions at work. When you go into work already having not the best of days, and then have a leader screaming about an insignificant matter, it absolutely affects one’s work ethic. There are multiple studies that show that a workplace with happy and motivated employees is more successful than one with unmotivated employees. This all comes down to the leader. A leader who acts with empathy will have a more effective workplace, as employees will be excited to walk through the door, and realize that even if they have an off day, they will ultimately be appreciated for their efforts.

    On the other hand, I currently have a manager who is one of the best and most empathetic leaders I have ever encountered. This manager is truly the epitome of one who acts with empathy. Not only does he constantly encourage and motivate his workers, but it is evident that he really cares about his employees. Additionally, if he can tell that someone is feeling a bit down, he personally sits down with this employee, and talks about what is going on, and steps that he can take to assist them. This manager makes me excited to go to work, and I can tell that my feelings are reflected in those of my coworkers. This excitement is showcased in our motivations, and the overall teamwork of our establishment’s workers. All of this can be traced back to the empathy of our manager. WIthout him and his commitment and appreciation to/for the employees, our ship would not run as smooth as it does.

    Empathy allows us to connect to one another, understand one another, and be more well rounded individuals. When I am going through something in my life, I would hope that one understands what I am going through before any judgement. I act the same way towards anyone, as you really never know what someone is going through. Whether it be leadership or in life, empathy is crucial for one to succeed.

  12. Xuanchen Zhang September 30, 2019 at 1:35 am #

    The article gives strong argument as to why empathy is an important aspect of leadership, and from the perspective given, it may actually be the most important requirement in leadership. This is perhaps contrary to what many people may feel about leadership, that being skilled in the technical aspects of it ought to be the most important. The author states that businesses are all about dealing with people. The people include the employees, customers, and other stakeholders, and they all have different kinds of relationships with the company. Since the leader plays a vital role in the dealings of the company with the people it deals with, it is therefore important that he or she knows how best to interact with people. Having empathy is one of these key ways of knowing how to deal with people.

    In this regard, the author puts emphasis on the need for a the leader to have an understanding of people’s situations, as that is the only way that fruitful business relations can be maintained. She acknowledges that often, it can be frustrating dealing with people, and a leader having to deal with many people who all have their own different feelings, situations and so on, can really weigh down on him or her. This is where the trait of empathy becomes really important, since without it, it is very easy for the leader to react in harsh way such as firing the employees, or other reactions that could lead to termination of the business relationships. She however states such should not be the kind of reactions the leaders ought to give. They are expected to have high levels of empathy, so that they are able to have an understanding of the other people’s situations and therefore be able to react to them in a manner that will not ruin the business relationship.

  13. Juliet Akcay October 4, 2019 at 11:31 am #

    One of the most important traits to uphold as a leader is to have empathy for one another. It is important to feel sympathetic for one another because it makes for a comforting environment. Having empathy for one another can change a relationship in a good way. There are many types of ways to act in a managerial role towards employees under you and showing sympathy towards them shows for a friendly and inviting environment. If one was to have a strict manager, it would have a negative impact on the employees and their work because they will feel pressured and not do their job to the best of their ability.
    I have had a lot of experiences with jobs within the past few years and felt that I worked harder in a job when my bosses made me feel comfortable. There are many ways to have empathy towards employees. It could be as simple as asking how their day is and just being a good listener. Being a good listener does not necessarily mean to state your opinion because in most cases, that is not what is wanted. Something that is becoming more well known and that is being educated in college for the workforce is emotional intelligence. This goes hand in hand with a leader who should show empathy because emotional intelligence is being aware of and expressing one’s emotions and to enforce empathy in emotional situations. Being educated on emotional intelligence is very important as employees want to know their coworkers and bosses feel empathetic towards them and that they are in a comforting and caring environment. Overall I agree with the article that empathy is vital for how we interact with others and that it makes for a good leader.

  14. Jacqueline Payor October 4, 2019 at 7:53 pm #

    When it comes to empathy, I believe it’s one of the most important characteristics that any person can have. Empathy is important because it helps us understand how others are feeling so we can respond accordingly to that specific situation. According to studies carried out by Development Dimensions International (DDI), empathy is the biggest single leadership skill needed today. Empathy is probably the number leadership skills that anyone could have. In a business or organization having empathy increases trust, and has a sense that staff are valued and cared about. Did you ever noticed that when someone close to you notices how you are feeling or tells you much, they appreciate something you have done for them you automatically have the urge to do more for them? The reciprocity reaction kicks in when this happens. When empathy is demonstrated at the top of a business, for example management; this results in it being passed down throughout the business. This results in a decrease in conflict within the workplace and disruption. When a leader shows to the staff that their appreciated, seen, and heard this increases satisfaction within the workplace. Empathy is most certainly the key to success.
    Juetten states, “the greatest empathy we can display is in offering other both our support in their personal problems, and the space to deal with those issues as needed.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement. You want to be empathetic towards people, but you don’t want to bombard them at the same time. Regardless where we work, who we work for, we all want to be valued as a human. Whatever happens in our personal lives, in the workplace we want to forget about those problems and be valued. Having someone go the extra mile and knowing that they care will go alone way in today’s society.

  15. Megan Cannon October 11, 2019 at 4:57 pm #

    Empathy within the work place is something that I feel so important about. Feeling psychologically safe within a group/ work setting is often pushed aside to just “get the job done.” I can count more times than not in my own personal life that I have been told before starting a job that, “we leave personal issues at home, and we come to work, to work.” And to me, that is just unfair. Coming from someone who has 2 young children that thrive off of me being the best mother I can be, its hard to me to leave my personal life at home when one of them is sick and need me, but I’m at work instead. This article is so well written in my opinion. Here, you have a leader who realizes how important being empathetic to her employees is, in a time where being empathetic doesn’t get the job done. I think being in managerial positions, people often seem to forget that the more your employees feel satisfied with their job, and feel important and valued, the best quality of work you are going to get from that person. We all have our personal issues, and we all deal with things differently, but if our managers/ superiors have taken the time to truly understand what they could do to help us, even in the least bit, that could really make me want to stay or leave a company depending on the outcome. I believe that bringing too much of your personal life into work is not good, but finding the balance between work, and your personal life is important. I have always believed not to tell your personal business to people that may misconstrue or spread rumors, but if I feel like I am going through something, it means so much more to me if my managers reach out, and ask what they could do to help. A little bit really does go a long way.

  16. Louis Priolo October 14, 2019 at 1:43 pm #

    The article opens up explaining how running a business, simply, is about convincing people to connect with the company through buying their products, partnering with the company, or investing in it. Additionally, there is an internal factor that deals with the heartbeat of the company and how relationships are formed to cohesively work toward a goal. One of the biggest factors contributing to that cohesiveness is an effective manager, which is a person who not only manages tasks and responsibilities, but also connects with co-workers and employees on a personal level.
    One of the most important traits an effective leader within a group or organization must possess is empathy, which is the ability to understand the feelings of another. Of course, leaders need to be strict and make sure the work is being done properly. If it is not, that leader or manager needs to get to the root of the problem. Rather than berating an individual who is slacking, an effective leader takes that person to the side or in private to discuss the matter. The most effective manager will find a solid balance between being demanding and being empathetic. If a leader is too demanding without understanding the feelings of one of his or her team members, pressure will cause an issue to grow even worse. On the flip side, too much empathy without enough demand will leave room for a similar issue to arise again. Meeting somewhere in the middle allows for an individual to feel comfortable about a mistake or period of poor performance while also letting that person know that he or she needs to pick it up for the overall well-being of a company or team.
    Finding a balance between empathy and demand is crucial for managers and leaders alike to create a cohesive, well-oiled machine of a company or team.

  17. Arman Ameri October 18, 2019 at 10:20 pm #

    There are many qualities that make a leader, such as integrity, accountability, creativity, and many other things. Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings of another and it is what makes a leader even better. Empathy allows people to connect with each other and if a leader cannot connect with the people, he/she is leading, well then, he/she is not being an effective leader. This applies to the workplace, school, sports, etc. Having empathy as a leader also enables a leader to better motivate whoever is being lead because if you do not empathize with someone then you do not understand them, which means you do not understand what motivates them and therefore you cannot motivate them. However, if you do empathize with them, then you do understand them, which means you understand what motivates them leading you to be able to motivate them. That is what a good leader does, he/she finds a way to motivate you to get something done even though you might not want to. There are bad leaders and good leaders, the great ones though are the ones which have empathy, because then the understand the people in which they are leading.

  18. Sarah C October 21, 2019 at 3:16 pm #

    I agree with Mary Juetten’s point that “effective management is being able to understand and connect with co-workers and employees,” because I have found that during my time working in retail, the most effective managers that I have worked for were those who truly tried to connect with their employees. The least effective managers that I’ve had usually were those who avoided being empathetic with their employees. Those managers did not typically reach their sales goals during the segments that they were in charge of directing. I always worked my hardest no matter which manager was in charge, but I felt that the overall employee morale was low during the segments with the least empathetic managers. I also have worked on campus at my school, and my supervisor at the office that I am in is the most understanding, empathetic boss that I have ever had. I feel that my co-workers and I are successful as a team due to our manager’s leadership skills.

    When it comes to problem-solving, one line that stood out to me was that it is important to “…try and understand someone’s particular problem or seeming fault to see if there is an underlying issue that is left unaddressed.” I agree that this is an important step to take to understand why those around us are motivated to take the actions that they do.

    Empathy goes a long way because it builds rapport with others and is a medium for how we reach an understanding with each other.

  19. Tiffanny Reynolds October 22, 2019 at 9:29 pm #

    I find this article to not only apply to the working world, but it can also be applied to the academic setting, with teachers being empathetic towards students in regards to mental health, leaves of absence, etc. Students, just like working professionals, have things that pull them from their work. If teachers could recognize this more, I find that the academic environment wouldn’t feel so hostile sometimes.

    “You might have an employee that doesn’t seem to be pulling their weight with the group, but it might just be a case of reticence within group settings. Someone that seems lazy or sluggish might just be suffering from a bout of insomnia. A particularly contentious team member might not be a jerk after all, but going through some challenges in their personal life that create misdirected anger.”

    This above quote from the article can be directly applied to students as well. I remember being in a theatre history class and we had projects to do. The options were to create videos of advertising a play production, or writing a paper about the historical significance of a play. Every single person in the class got into groups of two to four people to make videos, except for one student. Whether he preferred to write or simply did not like group settings, I appreciated that the teacher allowed for this option because of this.

    “It’s one thing to offer time off for someone to handle a personal matter, but that extra step of letting someone know that you care, and that you’ll offer what support you can because you value them beyond the work they do, can be the difference between being someone that people have to work for and someone that people want to work for.”

    This above quote from the article can also relate to a classroom setting. A student may work harder for a teacher who respects one’s struggle and allows for a way of dealing with it. In my sophomore year, I was going through a difficult personal matter that occurred about fifteen minutes before one of my classes started. I was trying to compose myself on the way to class, but when I walked into the room and a friend greeted me, I fell apart and burst into tears in their arms. The teacher, who was notorious for being on the stricter side, allowed me to leave class for ten minutes and compose myself more, as she noticed that my own attempts at composure as the class started were not successful. This was a pretty big deal, because she had never let a student leave a class before. Even going to the bathroom during class time was frowned upon. When I thanked her at the end of class for allowing me to step out, she recognized my work ethic and told me that since I never skip or was ever late to one of her classes, that it was no problem to let me go out. This is a great example of a leader (in this case, a teacher) taking the initiative to care which increased my productivity instead of producing poor work on mine, as well as my classmates’ parts.
    In the performing arts, it is hard for one to say that “personal issues should stay at the door,” since personal issues, specifically as an actor, shape our work. In my Shakespeare acting class, I was performing the infamous “Get thee to a nunnery!” scene as Ophelia, with another student being my Hamlet. One day in particular, we were not performing our best, as we both had personal issues such as stress due to coursework, creative blocks in acting, etc. On that day, the teacher saw this in out performance and critique us harshly, noting that we seemed exhausted and were not with it as we performed. He had us do the scene again, and use what we were feeling. Our exhaustion fueled our emotions and ignited the scene. During my final monologue, I was crying, as the character because my heart was broken, fueled by me personally, feeling exhausted and inadequate as a performer in that moment. Here was a moment where a professor did care and allowed the personal issues to become involved in the work, which allowed for even better work. I understand that in other professional atmospheres, this would not be ideal. However, this demonstrates how instead of just leaving one’s feelings at the door, in an attempt to stifle the emotions, the emotions were allowed to be brought into the room, fully acknowledged by all (which in turn actually did help the work.)

  20. Adelina P October 28, 2019 at 10:58 am #

    When people think about leadership, it is usually associated with authority, the feeling of being “big” and important. However, having that leadership role comes with the importance of feeling empathy for others. From my experience, the managers I’ve felt more comfortable talking to because of our connection, are the ones who understood me. They treated me like a human, and not below them. The managers who never gave me a chance to understand me not only as an employee but as a person were the ones who never seemed to care about feeling empathy for others. That wasn’t a good thing, because I and my coworkers always avoided those types of managers. I agree with Mary Juetten, and how critical it is to be in that upper-level role. To be there you must not only do your day to day tasks, but show the people you look out for that you’re there for them, you understand, and you’re like their mentor. Having empathy goes a long way, people will value you more, and always go to you for any issues. Empathetic managers also know that the bottom line of their organization or any business is succeeded through their employees. With that being said, having that openness and empathetic attitude towards your team members makes a happy and comfortable workplace.
    Another article I came across states that the three main traits of an empathic leader are, good listener, nonjudgmental, and emotional intelligence. Empathetic leaders spend more time listening than talking. They focus on their team members who are speaking before they interrupt or abruptly say something before they could finish speaking. That could lead to your employees to be closed off. It is critical when you are listening to them that you’re not distracted, because that would give off a vibe of I don’t care. Having good listening skills is just as important. Empathetic leaders are also nonjudgmental, even when the feelings of others are in direct disagreement with their feelings. They accept one another and understand them without judging them. Lastly, empathetic leaders are also emotionally intelligent. They can step back from their own and the other person’s feelings and subjectively analyze those feelings. They would not let feelings control the results of an outcome.
    http://bouncebackhigher.com/articles/empathy-a-critical-skill-for-effective-leadership/

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