Empathy: An Essential Leadership Skill

“You are a great leader, sir! You fueled us to work with enthusiasm, and the most important thing is that now we are not afraid of attending any review meetings. And you taught us how to present data with exact finding. We are so thankful, sir!” These words were being spoken by the all managers bidding farewell to their outgoing leader who had been transferred to the company’s head office for a key leadership position.

Why was every manager of the company talking about this leader’s extra ordinary skills?  And why were they giving special thanks to their boss? It was because they had been constantly cared, recognized and appreciated for during his tenure as their leader – All because he was an emotionally intelligent leader and the master of an essential leadership skill called Empathy.

What is Empathy?

Empathy is the ability to imagine how someone is feeling and understand their mood. You can also define empathy as putting yourself in someone else’s shoes – the experience of understanding another person’s thoughts, feelings and conditions from his point of view.

How does it affect Leadership?

Research says 90 percent of the top performers in the workplace have high degree of Emotional Intelligence. They are able to lead their team effectively because they practice being a better listener. As a leader this skill is extremely important. Nobody can effectively lead someone they do not understand.

You can only motivate and influence a person if you know how he or she feels.

“Daniel Goleman” a renowned author of International Bestseller Book “Emotional Intelligence” ‘why it can matter more than I.Q.’ clearly mentions in his book:

“For all rapport, root of caring stems from emotional attunement, from the capacity for empathy.”

“That capacity, the ability to know how another person feels comes into play in a vast array of life arenas, from sales and management to romance and parenting, to compassion and political actions. The absence of empathy is also telling. Its lack seen in criminal, psychopaths, rapists and child molesters.”

Reasons why Empathy is the most Important Leadership Skill

Here are five ways in which your organization can benefit by teaching your leaders to be empathetic and emotionally intelligent:

  1. Your team members will be loyal.
  2. Your employees will be more engaged.
  3. Teams work better with each other.
  4. Your staff will be happier.
  5. They will be creative towards the organization.

How to master Empathy as an essential leadership skill? 


  • Be a Listener: Being a listener means being able to listen to your employee with open ears, eyes and heart. Focus on their tone, body language and feelings and observe their keywords, phrases and thoughts.
  • Become an observer: Observe carefully while your employee is telling you something, don’t interrupt them in between. Focus on the emotions behind what is being said.
  • Create an open forum:  Always give a chance to your team for an open discussion. Create a forum, invite your employees for a cup of tea or coffee. Discuss each other’s experiences and share ideas.
  • Keep your promises:  Being a leader, its your responsibility to keep your promise to your team members, this attitude will help you to achieve more desired results within the organization.
  • Have a helping hand: Always stand behind your employee, offer him help whenever needed. Try to comfort them in their hard time. Your team will never hesitate to put their best foot forward for you.



B.D. Verma

Author: B.D. Verma

Mr. B.D. Verma, has the experience of the various corporate and banking sector, he also worked on the Google interface as advertising professional. After Completing his M.B.A. from MONIRBA, University of Allahabad and around 10 years of experience with the corporate sector he decided to start public speaking profession which is very close to his heart.

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