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Principles for the Empathic Leader

Our guest blogger this week is NHLA member Karen Betz, Chief Customer Officer with Dale Carnegie of Nevada.

Empathy may very well be the workplace word of the year in 2021. Issues related to work from home, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, AI, and digital transformation, as well as other challenges that are either a direct result of the pandemic or have been accelerated by it, aren’t easy to resolve quickly or to everyone’s satisfaction.  Leaders are beginning to realize that handling them with empathy is not only beneficial but necessary.

Whether you call it “pandemic fatigue” or just stress, burnout is real and impacting the workplace and our global health.  “The #1 factor that influences burnout is a leader’s ability to demonstrate empathy.” says DDI.  Empathy is not only critical for those we lead, also for us as leaders. In DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast 2021 60% of leaders indicated they feel “used up” at the end of every workday, a strong indicator of burnout. The conclusion, empathy & EQ are essential skills for today’s leaders at all levels.

Dale Carnegie

What is empathy? Empathy is the capacity of comprehending what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference. The competency of connecting with others, which is empathy in its purest form, is the force that can help you and your business succeed. Empathic leaders feel genuine concern for others and are intrinsically motivated to help them thrive.  The critical factor to genuine concern  is setting aside our own biases and seeing things as others do. Dale Carnegie in “How to Win Friends and Influence People” summarizes this as Principle 17, “Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view”.

Creating an empathic culture starts with you.

Principles for the Empathic Leader:

  1. Be People Focused

Teams are made of great people that we took a lot of time to recruit, hire and develop. Recognize your people not just for their valuable skills, rather the “valuable people they are with skills.”

  1. Be Human

It’s time to be human again! Don’t be afraid to lead with heart. Dale Carnegie said “When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion.”

  1. Be Supportive

It’s our responsibility to create a safe and supportive environment for our teams. Slow down, be flexible, provide resources and don’t forget to take care of yourself!

Thank you, Karen, for sharing your thoughts on the importance on being an empathic leader.

Dale Carnegie


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