The One GREAT Skill Every Leader Must Have
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. And that goes for mentally, as well as physically. Whether in the armed forces, corporate world, or that of politics, nonprofits, there’s a skill that all great leaders have in common. Before you begin guessing, let’s do a quick exercise, designed to take you down memory lane. Think about your career to date, the number of jobs you’ve held and the type of bosses you’ve encountered along the way. If you’re like most people, you should have more than a few in mind.
Now focus on their individual leadership style, as you recall it.
Bosses You’d Rather Forget
Did you ever have a boss that simply couldn’t remember your name, despite how long you’d worked there? Was he or she like this with other colleagues, vendors, suppliers, and perhaps even clients? How about bosses who were laser-focused on results? Did you ever work for a senior leader who spent more time pouring over spreadsheets, metrics and profit margins than getting to know his or her subordinates? Ever have a boss who was obsessed with his or her career, maintaining an image with senior leaders above him or her, and achieving key performance goals at any cost, but not people? I’m sure you can think of a few more examples of this kind of leadership. Regardless of their name, their title, their position, their rank or power – they all have one thing in common. They were missing the most important skill that a leader can possess.
How Empathy Helps Us Connect
Empathy is the ability to connect, share, and understand the feelings of another person. And it’s a skill, meaning that it can be learned, improved, and mastered. Today’s leading psychologists have even assigned three specific categories to empathy – cognitive, emotional, and compassionate. If a leader possesses cognitive empathy, it means they can sense and feel how others are thinking. They’re perceptive. Emotional empathy is an emotive response, the ability to understand where others are coming from. And compassionate empathy is the ability to feel another’s pain and be moved to take action.
The Benefits of an Empathetic Leader
Empathy allows leaders to ask better questions. It allows them to connect with others, motivate them, and pull better performance and results. Empathy is a demonstration of vulnerability, the ability to possess a humble approach when dealing with problems and people. And those who have empathy are often very charismatic. They make people want to follow them, to accept their instruction, and to produce the results they desire. Empathy is a skill. It can be learned. It can be coached. It can be practiced. And it can be mastered, like any other skill. Considering its importance as the one great skill that every leader must have, empathy is of crucial importance to military and executive leaders – no matter the specialty, industry, or company/unit size.
If you’d like to explore your own skill level of empathy, I can work with you in a one-on-one environment. And this offer extends to that of group settings as well. Incorporating empathy into your company culture can lead to increases in morale, performance, collaboration, and results. I leverage a proven blueprint and philosophy designed to build strong, vibrant leaders and organizations. If you’d like to master a skill that creates loyalty, trust, and optimizes performance, contact me today to have a conversation about what’s possible!