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. 

More here.

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  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. After reading this article I did not realize how impactful empathy is in regards to leadership. Everybody is a leader in their own right, but before you can lead others I believe you have to know how to lead yourself. Leading yourself can mean many different things but I think it constitutes directly being a good leader to a group of people. As the article stated “empathy would seem to be going through a rough stretch in 2019”, this can be related to not just a rough stretch but more of what society has actually come to. With technology moving at a rapid pace of growth it is becoming a lost art to work with your head up and to have a conversation with somebody face to face and not through a screen. That is how empathy has become “lost” people do not know how to be empathic with each other. Managers who do not connect and build a comfortable professional relationship in a working environment with their employees do not have a chance to be empathic with them. Being empathic stretches to caring more about one’s own feelings are but how other people are acting and feeling. Effective leaders who are able to understand how people are feeling and realize that you need them as much as they need you will go to new heights. As the article said “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” is all about how empathic a person can be. A true leader needs to honestly feel the situation a person may be in when they are going through rough stretches in their life, whether it is a sick family member, struggling financially, or even relationship with others. Everybody is going through tough times and stretches of their own life where there are setbacks and disappointments but a leader cannot show their emotions and how what is going on in their life affecting them at work because then you cannot be empathic with your employees.
    Classes and certification to help people become better leaders are some of the best tools out there to really elevate one’s company or in general how to be a leader overall. Being an effective leader is more than just “keeping people happy” as the article satted, but finding what motivates the people that you are leading and determining what they “want” rather than what you want will help everybody reach their goals. Not one worker is the same, so everybody is driven by different forces, it may be money or gaining experience, or trying to gain a promotion, but everybody has their drive and it takes the leader to find that. The only way a leader can do this is if they show empathy and are not unreachable and intimidating to others. Effective leaders do not take the easy road out and are not shied away by difficult tasks that may occur. For example, there might be an employee who is not contributing fully to a group or may be a terrible team member and just a typical “jerk”, how a manager and leader addresses these situations will say a lot about them. I learned that a leader who truly cares will empathize with these employees and understand what really is going on, compared to maybe a lazy manager who might not want to deal with this nonsense and just start firing people.
    The author at the end of the article speaks about the greatest empathy and that is being able to offer support in other people’s personal problems. I agree with this claim and an “elite” leader who is able to build a strong relationship where work can be put aside and an employee and a manager can speak about personal issues is how you know that an employee has true faith and trust in you. Going the extra mile and showing that you really do care can leave a lasting impact on the employee which will end up helping your company. The employee will want to work for a leader who displays true character and empathy rather than “having” to work for a manager. This employee or employees will not be coming to work everyday just to get through the day but will now be motivated and show the same empathy and faith you showed in them and reciprocate it back. When a group of people are able to work for each other rather themselves is when a true leader has left their mark. Caring goes far away and once it gets infected in one person that can carry to every person in the organization. A blog post by Halli S. said “Therefore, by using empathy, a leader, among anyone, can connect with individuals, and make a system run much more smoothly”. I thought this was a very valid point as I could connect with it. Playing baseball in college has changed my perception about what being on a `team” is really about and how important leadership is. Without leaders to show you the way and set a positive motivating example nothing is going to change within a team or team culture. Leadership from the leaders can bring people together or quickly turn them apart. Being an avid sports fan, I see it every year in championship teams, the teams that win are not necessarily the most talented (although that helps) but are the players who are all brought in to a system and play for something bigger than the team. The teams that are champions motivate, push each other and take that extra step to be more than but a family. Empathy goes a long way and is needed to be successful as a leader and as a person.

  21. I think that this article give a lot of insight of being a leader that is liked as well as doing the right job. A leader that rules with fear and a stubborn mind is no leader at all. They know what they want and make others do what is asked of them. If it is not done correctly, there are strict consequences and you are gone. This starts to create a very hostile and stressful work environment for the employees and anyone else inside the company. Living in constant fear of messing up, will only escalate your chances of messing up because of how nervous you are. There will also be no one taking creative leaps and doing more than they are asked, because there is no point. The consequence of losing their job is not important enough to give their own opinion. This type of leadership will drive a company into the stone age. A better way to go about leadership of anyone is through example and compassion. You are the leader. This means that you have the skills necessary to understand what you are doing as well as teaching and delegating others to do that task with you. If you are empathetic in a leadership position. The people that you are overseeing will be more comfortable. They will feel encouraged to ask question to make sure their job will be correct because you are not going to yell at them for not knowing. They will be encouraged to take leaps that they otherwise would not have. They will also be willing to do more work to benefit the company. If as a leader, you can make people believe in themselves and what they do, they will want to give back. Personally, by boss at ShopRite is a saint. She knows exactly what she is doing and does everything with a cool head. She tells everyone what is asked of them and no question is ever to little for her to help you with. Because of this, I am more motivated to get things done because I want to make her happy. I don’t want to make her look bad and take advantage of how nice she is being. That is the best work environment that I have ever been in and I love showing up to work. Our department has set multiple company records for performance and it is because of how positive the environment is and how empathetic my boss is towards all of us.

  22. This article has a powerful message that goes beyond work, but in our everyday interactions we have. Leadership many argue is not attainable, you are born with it. Well here a question, How do you know your a leader? In today’s environment leadership has lost its true meaning and has been replaced with positions. Many people I have interacted with believe they are leaders due to the position they hold. Leadership is not received from someone or a position that you gained but you have to strive for. You have to want to become a leader through developing your interpersonal skills (Communication, Self Awareness, Empathy, Etc) as well as credibility (Knowledge, experience, Etc) The greatest leaders in our world were not given the position, but earned through actions and words. They took the initiative to develop themselves and then create change which made people follow them since they had a message, values, and credibility.
    Many confuse leadership with positions you hold in school and work which they believe make them leaders or believe leadership is a skill in of itself. Leadership is the mix of intangible characteristics that are displayed in the tangible. Leadership is a skill nor a single characteristic, it is the life experience of the individual and how well they understand reality. They have self awareness, empathy and love running through their veins (Blood) while their desire (Dream, ambition) is in the middle pumping the blood. Their eyes are filled with passion, and charisma that others can see. The others watch his actions, words and inspire them to become a greater person, so they follow him to learn. They see that his mission (desire) is greater than his individual life. They are now pumping the same blood, and eyes are filled with passion like the leader. They have become part of the mission not individually but collectively.
    That is when you know you are a leader. When you inspire others to achieve greater things than they imagined. Leadership is not an individual, but requires a group to bring it out . Leadership is not a skill, and cannot be taught since it is born inside of every single person who understands life is greater than themselves and lives life every day toward their dream spreading love. I personally have only read about leaders, but have not met anyone yet who brings out that desire in my heart. I would like to end this post with a quote to sum up my ideas. The first quote is by Jack Welch who declared “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others” The last quote is from John Maxwell who said it perfectly “ A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”


  23. Pretty powerful article. Something to keep in mind with all aspects of life, not just in the professional word. In some point in our lives we will be either on the giving or receiving end. Unfortunately, life is messy, and you never know what’s coming your way. Let’s just hope we all have ability to handle it with grace. You just never know what people are going through. Showing a little sympathy goes a long way. Unfortunately, the ability to feel empathy doesn’t come easy for all. I wish it did this world would be a much better place. Some may say empathy is in the eye of the beholder. I happen to disagree. Empathy is having the ability to sense other emotions’ not everyone has that instinct. However, being a little more mindful of the situation at hand is more ethical. Building a healthy environment within your organization takes skill. Once you’re aware of it you can lead by example. No matter what position we are within an organization sometimes you must take a step back and remember your humanity.
    There is a difference between empathy and sympathy. If by chance you cannot connect and feel the empathy you should still show some sympathy because it is the right thing to do. It is a sense of professionalism.
    love this quote
    “ 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” Quoted by Mary Juetten


  24. Being a leader within an organization, I know that in my position I need to empathize with others and make sure I am constantly thinking about others’ feelings. This article is surrounded on the idea that leaders need to be more concerned with the wellbeing of those underneath them and care for their workers as if they were themselves. It can be difficult for people to express their feelings with others and they might keep them bottled inside because that is how they cope. Being in a leadership position I have learned that it is very hard to make everyone ( or the majority) of people happy. It is a very difficult task to understand how everyone is feeling about a particular situation because you truthfully never know what people are going through behind closed doors. Being in the position to know about what is going on in people’s lives can be difficult because you don’t want to treat people differently. The last line of this article really does hit differently it says, “ A reminder of our own humanity, and the empathy we need to fully be a part of the world, serves all of us well in our quest to be a better leader.” This really compels me into thinking about how to be a better leader you need to be considerate of others and be empathetic towards your co workers or employees. When you are in a position to empathize with others you need to be trained and prepared in different areas to understand. Some of those might include conflict management, mediation and other areas that might help understand and empathize with other people. This does matter because when you are in the place to question people and understand what is going on in their lives you need to be prepared to speak to them in a way that will not make them upset or hurt. When the article talked about convincing people to buy a product you need to be able to connect and make relationships with people. That is one of the golden rules I learned in my sales classes is that building relationships is the most important. When you are in a position like sales or management you need to be able to build the relationships with others and better those connections over time to be able to empathize for them when something is wrong or you need to talk about something with them. Another good point that was made in this article is that we are all tangled in work and personal life which I feel is not something that is made very clear in the workplace. I think that in the workplace the communication of what is going on needs to be reciprocated and there needs to be a good flow of what is going on and what can be done. Without building relationships and better communication then there is no way that empathy can be displayed or shown. I think personally being in the position to be a leader there needs to be more of a basis of what is ok and what is not because without that basis people can walk all over you or can ignore the relationship that is trying to be formed. When you need to be there for someone you need to have a strong relationship with them in order for you to understand what is going on but also if you dont you need to be able to adapt to the differences and compromise.

  25. This article strongly supports the need for leaders to be empathetic towards their co-workers. It stresses the impact that a leader can have on a business when they are able to connect and understand co-workers and employees on a personal level. This is a very valid topic that definitely has its effects in the workplace. One of the skills that makes a good leader is the ability to be able to create an atmosphere in the workplace where employees feel comfortable asking questions and collaborating with one another. This alone will produce a multitude of positive effects in the company such as an increase in efficiency, effectiveness and overall productivity in the work environment.
    With my personal experience networking with various professionals in the business industry I have learned the importance of a good company culture. This plays a major role when professionals are considering whether or not they would like to work for a certain company. People are more inclined to work for companies and businesses that appreciate them as employees while also valuing a balance between work and their personal life. If leaders and management in an organization can be empathetic and understanding towards their employees this will then ultimately create a high-yielding company while also increasing its quality. Overall, this article has touched some very interesting points and has allowed me to better understand the qualities and the characteristics of effective management.

  26. I believe that a leader should have a good mix of qualities in order to be able to lead people in the best way possible. When the time comes to get the work done, yes the leader should be serious to make sure the work is getting done. But just because an individual is appointed into a leadership position, this doesn’t automatically mean that they have to be stone cold. I was recently told that in order to be successful in the industry I am pursuing, I must be able to take emotions out of the picture and not bring that into a workplace. At first, I believed that this is really how good leaders come about. As I spend more time in this kind of work setting, I’m starting to see that this isn’t actually the case. When a leader is able to still connect with their emotions and understand what their team is going through, it will be more likely for that person’s employees to be more open to collaborating with them. The employees are more dedicated and willing to put in that extra effort to carry forward a company’s vision and mission when they see their manager, director and any other leader wants to do the same as well. Many managers play a significant role in people’s lives, especially in a mentor figure, and I can personally attest to this as well. It is very difficult to be able to connect and look up to someone that doesn’t have the empathetic side to them that allows them to be more understanding. This ultimately helps them understand what is best for their colleagues and how they can support those individuals to achieve the goals they wish to achieve, in the long run helping the team as a whole.

  27. The success of a leader goes well beyond managing tasks and job responsibilities but their ability to relate to the employees. A manager can achieve better production from an individual if they are able to understand their perspective. Instead of just organizing and assigning tasks, the manager can develop relationships with their employees which will lead to a better understanding of proper motivation. An individual is more willing to want to work for someone that listens and cares about their problems and be reasonable to real life situations. Many aspects of an individual’s life may affect their work performance, from sleep deprivation to family issues, and it is crucial for a manager to empathize with this information and make sound decisions with it. An important area where this relationship development can begin is when a manager is able to show the employee that they care for them beyond the what work they do there.
    An intriguing point shown in this article was the importance of empathy, especially as a characteristic of a good manager. In my experience, an understanding and communicative manager has received my hardest and most earnest work ethic. On the other hand, a manger that was dismissive of life problems in the workplace resulted in less dedication and a careless attitude towards the work. Beyond the workplace, the importance of being empathetic towards all individuals is critical to understanding their point of view and reasons for their actions. The best way to motivate an individual is to understand their perspective and align their goals with the task necessary to complete the job. There are many managers who believe that life problems or situations should be left at home and not brought into the workplace, but this may be a closed-minded approach to get the best out of the employees.
    This article brought to the forefront the many important roles that a manger has but significantly showed how being an understanding and empathetic person can be to their advantage. In reading this article, I was able to assess my own values towards empathetic people and how I respond to such treatment. As an individual that has experienced a wide array of manager types, the best relationships and production has come from empathetic managers. One area of my life that I attempt to become better in is the understanding of other individuals’ perspectives in relation to how they are acting or speaking towards me. There are many attributes of successful managers, but as this article highlighted, the key one can be empathy.

  28. This article is very true and timely topic. Nowadays, when working, your mind should be focused on the job at hand and your personal life should be left at the door. You do not see or hear many people talking or initiating conversation about life life outside of work, other than small talk. How often do you yourself partake in conversation with your boss that deal with your personal life? I tend to keep conversations pretty succinct that are more revolved around topics of work. This article brings in the perspective that leaders have to be cognizant of their employees lives outside of work. During work hours it is ok to focus mostly on the work at hand but not focus on the person doing the job is like focusing on the work that a broken machine produces without realizing that there is something wrong with actual machine and trying to fix that problem first. Empathy in a leader shows that they care about more than just their company, but they care about the people who make up that company as well. One of the lines the author of this article states is that “the greatest empathy we can display is in offering others both our support in their personal problems and space to deal with those issues as needed” and that one sentence encompasses how to properly treat an employee and know when to focus on work and know when to switch that focus to the well being of the employee themselves.

  29. This article resonated with me more than anything I have read in a while. Having spent seven years working in management, the accomplishment that gave me the most satisfaction was that I was able to cultivate two offices where the staff wanted to work. That is, more than just the low-bar expectation of people feeling like they have to drag themselves into the office every day, the offices I managed were places that the staff actually wanted to go.
    My offices did not have amenities like Google (ping pong tables, paid meals, smoothie bars, etc.), and things like employee compensation and bonuses were more-or-less automated by Human Resources and largely out of the control of the manager. The raises went according to scores given in the yearly review, but raise percentage points were doled out as a whole. That is, a manager of a staff of 5 might have only 7 or 8 points to distribute between employees – regardless of how well they all might have scored on their review. More to the point, there were situations where I had to decide which of the three most exemplary employees would receive the maximum 2% raise, at the cost of another.
    My point is, this was not a working situation that, on its own, lent itself to nurturing employee happiness. It required empathy.
    I have long held the (unpopular among superiors) view that work, by-and-large, was something that most people would rather not have to do. Even most of the people who really love their jobs, if pressed hard enough, would probably allow that they’d rather be on a beach, fly fishing, sleeping, or doing any number of leisurely activities over being in the office. Given that we spend the vast majority of our adult lives doing something we would rather not do, I felt it incumbent on me to try to make whatever I could control as comfortable as possible. If I could make going to work even a little bit better for those working under me, it was a success.
    Along these lines, I always had the general philosophy that something important in life supersedes something important in work. I made sure the staff understood that they would be given the benefit of the doubt until there was a reason for that to stop. In the seven years I worked as a manager, I had a total of thirteen call-outs, scattered between nine employees. Once any of the new employees had been trained, I never had to worry about looking over shoulders, micromanaging, or following up about completion of tasks. I would relay what needed to be done, when it needed to be done, and I would always find that they had finished early.
    I am not a magical motivator. I am not an inspiring leader, or someone who can gather their team at the beginning of the day and deliver a pep talk that makes them want to run through a wall (in fact, I abhor meetings in general). Rather, I made my offices a place they felt, safe, supported, comfortable, and appreciated.
    The article included the following lines,
    “If we fail to understand and empathize with these people —as human as we are ourselves— we likely take the easy road of firing them, and risk losing out on both a talented asset to your team and an opportunity to better understand others.
    Within 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.”
    Understanding that same amount of flexibility is not possible in every working environment, I always prioritized the people over the work. I had the benefit of hiring quality individuals with good work ethics, so I would not presume to take credit for that. That being said, I would make my rounds with the staff on a daily basis, and talk with them. We’d discuss work, of course, but most of the discussion related to matters outside of work: health, family, food, vacations, other fun things, etc. We had a mutual respect as people, and that outshined the mandated respect of our work positions.
    Doing nothing more than being respectful, appreciative, and supportive of my staff, I was able to help them feel good about having to go to work that day, which led to increased productivity, less unscheduled absence, and a willingness to always go above their specific job descriptions.
    Despite the seemingly intuitive nature of this idea, it was not something I was able to do without pushback from my immediate supervisors. I was told that I was too nice, and that I was inviting these people to walk all over me. As evidenced by what I just detailed, it turned out that the opposite was true.
    For most people, most of the time they spend of their adulthood – especially the younger years – is devoted to something they would rather not do. I think that everyone in any position to supervise others should read this article, and should take the point of it to heart.
    Create an environment that makes people feel better, and you will cultivate their desire to work hard for you, and that is more valuable than any kind of skills training or motivational speech.

  30. I found this article interesting because it articulates all the factors that managers/ business owners should have when interacting with their employees. I have worked at the same bakery since 2017 and I can easily say that my boss has none of those qualities, which reflects on the business as a whole. I remember learning about empathy for the first time in elementary school and I understood what it meant then, so it still surprises me that many managers are not able to fully grasp this concept. The article mentions empathy as “…a particularly effective tool in connecting with and understanding the people you need to help as much as they help you.” If workers are unable to put 100% into their job because of things that are affecting them outside of the workplace, leaders need to be aware of this. It is evident that every person goes through things that they did not see coming or things that they are forced to think about even when they want to leave it behind them. Empathy is key when trying to handle situations like that, and if not, leaders run the risk of having employees not engaged or worse, quitting.

    Two of my best friends at my work would up quitting because of the lack of empathy from our boss. One of them had gotten the flu and was unable to come in and my boss would up yelling at her as if it were her fault she fell sick. She quit the next day. My other friend’s grandfather had passed away who she was very close to and was only able to take a couple of days off. She was unable to fully focus upon her return and my boss kept yelling at her for it. As per the article, we could say he let his emotions “…fester into disappointment and frustration.” She required help from a “…person in a leadership role.” If she were given the appropriate amount of time to grieve, maybe she would have completed her work in a more timely fashion. As a result, she quit right after the holiday season. In my opinion, because of the way my boss acted in both situations, he is now missing out on two reliable hard-working employees. Now my boss is appearing to be unsuccessful in hiring new employees. Because of his lack of empathy, he is at a major loss. Both of them worked at least 30 hours a week and now that responsibility is put on me and one other worker. In my opinion, my boss is a clear example of what the author meant when she said “…any entrepreneur who goes into business for themselves.”

    After I earn my graduate degree I do not want to be the kind of boss that people have to work for. I want my future employees to want to work for me. As stated in the article, we need to be more aware that everyone faces hardships and the last thing we need in those moments are bosses who are not compassionate or helpful throughout the process – that would only make life worse for everyone involved.

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