Why Don’t We Accept Empathy as a Leadership Skill?
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In a recent article about leadership, the author implied that people cringe when they talk about leaders having empathy.  We have also found that when we talk about our ROCC of Trust, the fourth part of trust, compassion, leaves people scratching their heads, not sure what to make of it.

Compassion is squishy; it is not a hard skill that we learn in business school.  We don’t take classes in it like we do in accounting or finance.  Yet, when employees share what they like best about their bosses, many will share that the best boss they ever had not only did his or her job well, but actually cared about the best interests of his or her team.  That is the essence of compassion: caring about others as much as you care for yourself.

One of Karen’s bosses held her to high standards. He taught her how to negotiate hard with Coke and Pepsi and taught her how to lead others in her division, including those in accounting and engineering. Yet, at the end of the day, when she would still be working past dinner time, he would tell her to go home and eat with her family.  At that time, it was only Aneil, but he said “Your habits with your family start now.”  He set the example himself and always made sure that we never neglected our families for our work.  Bruce was a great leader and one that showed that he cared each day she worked for him.  As a result, Karen always went above and beyond his expectations because she knew he would always have her back.

How do you show your employees that you care for them?  Can you be an empathic boss and still be a respected leader?