Empathy: A Case for Selfless Leadership


  • Angelie Rasmussen


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Research supports the claim that there is a positive relationship between empathy and successful leadership. Empathy is attempting to understand the perspective of another by personalizing his or her narrative to oneself; in essence, it is “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.†Empathy is a highly effective leadership trait; it can enhance one’s leadership abilities and equip him or her with the resonance and respect he or she needs to succeed. Empathy is vital for successful leadership, although some in the business world might discount that skill. While some see sensitivity and empathy as unconventional or a sign of weakness in leaders, these traits allow one to better understand and serve their followers from a higher moral ground. Leaders who seek to develop and strongly exhibit empathy gain more trust from followers, and followers, in return, offer better results. Also, empathy is a central aspect of transformational leadership, which is popularly revered as the most effective and inspiring form of leadership. Empathetic leadership can motivate followers to work harder and with more enthusiasm and commitment toward the overall goal. It can reshape organizations, communities, and companies to cultivate a more positive, creative, and human environment.