In many projects, team-based activities, companies, and games, leaders are described as being the strong and decisive ones. They’re meant to be the people who have a vision and know how to make it come true. But what if there are other leadership qualities that are more important?
Leadership, by definition, means that you’re leading a group of people. You’re responsible for bringing them together so that you can create or achieve something new. A leader doesn’t only need to be driven and focused. They also need to bring out the best in their team members.
Ultimately, team collaboration isn’t about being the smartest or the most motivated or the strongest. It’s about working with other people and encouraging each other. Research shows that employees who trust and value each other’s work will do much better work themselves.
When it comes to leadership, empathy might be the most important trait a person can have.
Empathy refers to a person’s ability to understand what their team members need. An empathetic person knows what the people around them are thinking and feeling. You can understand where they’re coming from, even if you don’t agree with it.
Though some people have more intuitive empathy than others, this is a skill that can be learned. You can also sharpen your natural empathy and learn to use it in constructive ways. This seriously impacts your leadership skills.
Empathy creates social and emotional bonds between people. You begin to care about people when you place yourself in their shoes. In addition, empathy allows you greater insight into the perspectives and the needs of others.
When you practice empathy as an active skill, it requires you to be present. You have to pay attention to the people around you, the things they say, and the things they do. You have to live in the moment instead of zoning out. Your active listening skills will sharpen.
If you practice empathy, it will have a positive impact on your interpersonal skills. It’s much easier to talk to people when you understand how they’ll react to your voice and ideas. Showing empathy also helps to build trust between you and your employees, because it lets them know that you care about them.