When you are a leader it is important that you have empathy if you aspire to being a great leader. If you are not naturally an empath then it is a skill I believe you can learn. So firstly let us look at what is the definition of empathy for those that may not be aware of its meaning. “Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.”
For those of us who are lucky enough to naturally be empaths it can be a two-edged sword at times because you are constantly aware of what other people are feeling. So it important that you learn to set boundaries to protect yourself otherwise you can get sucked into other people’s problems too deeply. You have to the ability of recognising that you can be empathic towards others and compassionate about their situation but also there is a point where you need to step back. You need to be able to step back and look at their situation holistically seeing if you can help in any way or it is better that you suggest someone else who can help them with their situation. This alleviates the need to get involved too deeply as well as ensuring the person you are helping gets the right support and answers they need to resolve the situation which benefits all those involved.
Whilst you it helps immensely if you are a natural empath you can learn this skill and still help people and other organisations with any situation and even resolve them. So one shouldn’t let your lack of being an empath or still not fully understanding this from helping others where you can. Most of us have some natural compassion no matter how buried deep it may seem at times to help others in crisis or with day-to-day problems. Be prepared to step outside your comfort zone so that not only you grow but also you help someone else or another organisation grow as they you help them solve the situation they currently face.
Where you decide that you can help someone, group of people or another organisation and even potentially solve the situation then you need to focus on solving or at least alleviating the problems involved with this situation. Look at the situation and defining what the problems are with situation so you can analyse them to start to come up with solutions is a great step forwards. This is better than complaining about the situation, or only solving part of the problem or worse still doing nothing.
Instead, “Focusing on the solutions, rather than the emotions, may be the way out.” After all, being able to focus on solutions means you are halfway there already because you starting out with the right mindset. Often people have the right intentions but not the right mindset and then wonder why they fail or things don’t work out as they should. So it is important that you have the right mindset as well as focusing on solutions along with have empathy for those you are trying to help.
For those of us who are not naturally empaths I encourage you to learn this skill as it will serve you well in both your professional and personal life. If used properly for the right purposes and not to manipulate a situation to your advantage where the people involved aren’t served at all or in a negative manner then it can have a profound effect on many. Being willing to a learn a new skill like empathy may not be an easy thing do to it however if you persevere you will get thing there. Empathy is something that in time will prove invaluable and later on you will be glad you have it than not. So become the person you really are, the leader you were born to be with compassion in your heart and empathy for all those around us and society at large.
References for quotes in brackets: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_renew_your_compassion_in_the_face_of_suffering