Empathy as a competence for connected leadership

Mar 5, 2021
Frieda Janssens

How to become an empathic leader

What is empathy?

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else's situation. It includes the strength to create awareness about what someone really needs by means of the right questions, so the other person feels heard and understood.

What benefit does that bring to you? Well, the better you know your customers, their needs and their expectations, the better you can serve them. It's a perfect start to loyalty and long-term customer retention. And therefore for sustainable growth. This applies to your customers AND to your employees. So being empathically involved with all ambassadors of your company will bring you a lot!

“Empathy is about finding echoes from another person in yourself.” 
– Mohsin Hamid

The importance of empathy in your employees

 Your employees usually determine the image of your organization through their direct contact with the customer.

Do you want them to meet expectations with the same passion as yours? Then a good empathy is a must for both you and them. Because if you understand and can estimate your staff properly, you can also allow them to thrive and thus offer the best service. In addition to connection, empathy increases the resilience and innovation capacity of your employees. 

3 things of consciousness that make you more empathetic 

Empathy is not for the "happy few". Throughout evolution, humans have learned that working together increases their chances of survival, with empathy as a precondition for success. That means empathy is intrinsic to us. Only… we have forgotten a bit. Time to bring a little more empathy into your life. Let's go!

Everything actually starts with the awareness of your core desires. We're talking about three core desires within every human being: safeity, approval, and control.

Want to know more about conscious leadership? Then be sure to read this article about the 4 forms of balance.

1. Safety

Wanting safety is the earliest and simplest of the core desires. It means as much as wanting to survive.
Another word for safety is security. We want financial security, professional certainty, material security, relational security. This desire for security, survival and safety is at the heart of every human being. And from almost any organization.

2.  Approval

The second core need is approval. Approval is the desire to be loved or liked. To be wanted, appreciated and respected. To belong and be a part of something. From an evolutionary point of view, the survival chances of a group are greater than that of an individual. Therefore, belonging to a group is a form of survival strategy.

3.   Control

Control is the third core desire. Wanting control is about trying to make sure that everything in life is going the way you want it to.
Do you invest a lot of energy (and costs) in control plans? It is a coping mechanism when the two previous needs have not been sufficiently fulfilled. Does it shed  a light?

Increase empathy with this simple exercise

Now that you know the three desires that drive yourself and others we can consciously deploy them to strengthen your empathetic capacity.
You can do this daily exercise: unravel 1 problem that you experienced during the day and turn it into something you would like. What core desires do you see?

An example to make it clear:

Problem: “My engineering department is always late in delivering their design.”

Wants: “I want my customers to receive their product on time so that I don't get any complaints.”

Core needs: approval (image), certainty (financial).

The result of this daily exercise? It connects you with yourself and makes you better understand your own needs.

Knowing what's going on in your head will boost your confidence. There's a naturally softening effect when you know that these desires are present in everyone. And if you know that you can allow them, precisely because they form the basis of our existence.

Connect with your employees under this exercise

The next step is to acknowledge the core desires in your employees.
Be curious about what's going and talk openly about each other's needs. This way you act meaningful in an empathetic connection with universal needs. 

Learn in his blog what's the effect of attention for your team.

Connection makes people more willing to contribute. It results in a natural form of collaboration with benefits for your company. Now you no longer need to develop control plans to make sure all is done exactly your way. Everybody happy!!

More tips on leadership? 

Then you really should call Frieda on 0476780370 or send her a mail

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