Organizations strive to achieve effectiveness and efficiency through teams. The core of a successful and productive team is a leader who has good relationships with team members who are motivated to achieve predetermined organizational targets for all stakeholders. Leader develops an exchange relationship with other members of the team over time and the quality of these exchange relationships determines the effectiveness of the leader in the team.
Let’s see how empathetic leaders stand out in the crowd.
- Facilitate better communication channels: As Peter Drucker has said“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” Being empathetic helps a leader to understand others feelings and actions in a better way. It facilitates positive exchange relationships between leaders and members of the team. It results in an enhanced acceptability of leaders among team members which is reflected in their commitment towards their leader.
- Free flow of ideas for innovation: Only those organizations sustain in the long term which are constantly using their skills and resources to create new technologies and find ways to better respond to their customers by developing and improving their goods and services. Innovation is all about free flow and exchange of ideas in teams. An empathetic leader plays a significant role in creating an open communication culture and motivating a team environment to try new ideas.
- Managing Diversity: Diversity is not a phenomenon which is limited to composition of the workforce but it is reflected in all stakeholders of the organization and hence affects the overall productivity of the team. Empathetic leader acts sensitively in an environment where people are from different nationalities, cultures, ethnicity or social strata. They can operate seamlessly in such a working environment and enhance productivity of the team and overall organization.
- Top Down Approach of Empathy improves Overall Governance: A leader sets the tone of the culture, when the leader is empathetic it is often reflected in behaviour of followers too. Typical agency problems are resolved in a better manner which improves and put forward best governance practices in the organization which sends a positive message to all internal and external stakeholders of the company.
- More adaptable to Change: Every change effort has to overcome resistance to change. Due to trust, transparency and strong communication channels, the empathetic leaders are able to overcome the resistance of change easily. They are able to address the feeling of uncertainty and insecurity in their team in a better manner.
- During Crisis: During an uncertain and highly complex crisis situation an empathic leader is better equipped to recognize warning signals or emotional cues that other people might often miss during the crisis. Spotting warning signals helps the leader to remain connected with team members at an emotional level and hence positively influencing the team member’s readiness to come out of that situation.
From the above points it is very clear that empathetic leaders influence all stakeholders in a positive way. It is also clear that an empathetic leader addresses internal team conflicts in a more matured manner. As an empathetic leader not only positively affects individual team members productivity but also resolves team conflicts for greater good. So, organizations should make concrete and consistent efforts to infuse greater awareness among its employees about developing and treating others empathically.