According to the dictionary, empathy is defined as:
“The intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.”
Empathy involves putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, feeling what they feel. This is not always an easy thing for leaders to do because it involves a certain amount of transparency on their part. Where leaders can really show empathy to their team members is by listening to them in an empathetic and caring way, which goes back to the first quality of a servant leader. If you are good at intently listening to people, then you are also probably good at showing empathy. However, if you need to learn better empathy skills, try the following:
Focus – take time to focus your complete attention on the other person. Doing so shows them that you care and tells them that their needs are more important than anything else to you at that given moment.
Think – imagine what the other person must be going through. Try to feel their emotions and understand the challenges that they are facing.
Demonstrate – show that you care by offering encouragement, writing them a note, offering to pray for them, buying them lunch, etc. Small gestures go a long way in helping comfort someone dealing with difficult circumstances.
Ready to become a better servant leader? Focus on becoming a more empathetic person.