Empathy and sympathy are often used interchangeably, but there is a very important distinction between the two. To sympathise with someone you need to have gone through the same experience as them. To empathise with someone, however, a shared experience is not a prerequisite. Empathy requires you to understand and connect with someone by placing yourself in their shoes-seeing things from their perspective.

Empathy is one of the hallmarks of an effective leader. It brings them down to the level of their subordinates, minimising the space that would otherwise persist between the two. The ability to openly communicate with and enjoy the trust of your subordinates is crucial if one wishes to take their company to the next level. ‍

Individuals who demonstrate High EQ:

Are able to read social cues accurately, know the right thing to say in every situation, and firmly cement themselves in their subordinates’ mind as a leader who genuinely cares about their well-being.

  • Foster Communication at all Levels: Communication is the very foundation of empathy. A true leader is one who can both open up to their employees, and get their employees to open up to them in turn. An organisation that clearly shows they value empathy is one which fosters open and honest communication at all levels of the corporate chain. Empathy also allows such organisations to uncover the root cause of someone’s poor performance. By understanding and accepting their flaws, the company can move forward and look for a proper resolution to the issue at hand.
  • Forge and Strengthen Relationships: When you genuinely empathise with your subordinates and colleagues, you show them that you are someone who wants to be involved in their lives, in both the good and the bad times. Through this, empathy can forge new relationships that kick off on the right note, and also strengthen already-existing relationships, revealing dimensions and layers that were earlier hidden.
  • Elevates the Work Environment: A work environment that actually takes the needs and sentiments of its employees into consideration is one which is more likely to see less labour turnover, more attentive and innovative employees, and a higher productivity rate. The objective of any good leader must be to develop such an environment which allows their employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This enables them to perform better at work while ensuring their mental and physical health are not compromised.

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