Courage and Empathy. These are just two of the things that make someone a great leader. Recently, the team of Myles Advisory Group, owners of many companies including MAG Bookkeeping, recently wrote a pair of insightful articles on these qualities. I thought they were so helpful I wanted to make them available to you.
Before reading, if your church, business or organization, is looking for virtual bookkeeping assistance, click HERE to learn more about MAG Bookkeeping. They are the best out there. Now onto their thoughts on courage and empathy.
Find an organization with a toxic culture, and you’ll likely find one full of a great deal of fear. With the economic upheaval of recent years, and just the pace at which business and the nature of work is changing, people are facing a huge amount of uncertainty and fear in their workplaces. Fear at work then translates to stress, which then leads to decreased productivity and employee burnout.
It takes tremendously courageous leaders to enter into cultures like that and show people a different way to work. In our discussions, we identified just what exactly makes for courageous leadership in ourselves and in others:
- A willingness to confront reality head-on
- Seeking feedback (and really listening to it!)
- Saying what needs to be said, even when it’s awkward or uncomfortable
- Encouraging push-back
- Taking action on performance issues when it’s needed
- Communicating openly and frequently
- Leading change
- Making decisions and actually moving them forward
- Giving credit to thers
- Holding people (and themselves) accountable
How would you rate yourself in these areas? How would those you lead rate you?
Empathic leaders are able to sense the emotions of those around them, plus be able to place themselves in the midst of those emotions to truly identify with what those around them are experiencing. Empathic leaders, on the whole, are typically more generous and connected with their teams and concerned about their welfare. Our team went through some great self-assessment exercises around our own capacities for empathy, and we learned quite a bit about ourselves and each other:
“Much like other things in life, when you have genuine empathy for another (especially when they are going through something really hard) that it makes you more happy. I think this is because you are grateful for life and what you have personally navigated through the lens of the person you are relating to. I’d like to think I am empathic to others, but in all transparency I think this an area I could really stand to work on — slowing down and seeing the needs of others versus just charging so hard in my own endeavors and not looking around.”
“Sometimes I feel like I’m too empathetic; I can definitely let other people’s problems make me more upset than they probably should. I don’t always know if this is a good or bad thing. Probably a little of both? I feel like everything is a little of both, because I’m one of those people who can generally see both sides of the argument. ”
“I have found that over the years I have used the “happy when your friends are happy” empathy test as an indicator for a solid friendship. Obviously, everyone wants their friends to be generally happy, but when you can be happy for the kick-butt success of a friend and you don’t share that success (or vice versa) the friendship seems to be a good and lasting one. On the way to becoming a leader, it’s probably good to to be truly happy for the accomplishments of co-workers.”
“In the workplace, I have seen lack of empathy effect company morale and profitability. If a leader is not worth following, then employees don’t want to do their jobs. A leader must truly understand their words and actions. Remembering that an employee is not just an employee but a mom, dad, sister, brother, son, daughter, etc. Also, remembering that you can chose to lead with love or lead with a heavy hand. Love always wins!”
“Doing several mission trips over the years taught me how to better see people the way that Jesus does. I especially have a soft spot for anyone being treated unfairly and get very defensive for them.”
How have you seen empathy modeled by leaders? When leaders are empathic, how do you see it modeled in their day-to-day work?
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