Empathy is the ability to read people’s thoughts, understand their feelings, and act out in a way that maximizes their motivation and trust in the contemporary work environment. It is essential for executives to possess empathy because leaders who lack the feeling have difficulties with social relations at work. Consequently, they become poor collaborators, ineffective at leading others, and have trouble with adapting to changing situations. This study aims to evaluate the impact of high levels of empathy among executive leaders in an organizational setting and its effects on the subordinate employees.
Psychologists and philosophers argue that empathy is morally problematic and that it is a limited-capacity resource that can run out any time. Notwithstanding, empathy that is required in the workplace should be an emotional experience or a shared feeling that other people feel in the same environment. Emotional empathy is perceived as a limited resource for two primary reasons. First, empathy appears to be less sensitive to people who experience different ideological or racial phenomena from what other people think. Secondly, the feeling is less susceptible to victims of natural or genocide disasters than those who are not.
Empathy is a choice in response to mass suffering that could have occurred once in an individual’s life, which is different from what other people have experienced before in instances such as natural disasters that could have a significant effect on them. However, empathy is a choice that depends on the expanse of individual feelings. It is a powerful force that leads managers to understand the workers’ emotions and helps them to acquit or forgive the wrongdoers while encouraging the leaders to pursue authority and justice according to the law.
Limitations in empathy are caused by lack of identification and connection between individuals and poor communication strategies. Therefore, the capacity of empathy one holds depends on the empathizer’s ability to describe and identify with the person being empathized. Moreover, people are likely to turn away from unfamiliar and remote objects or people. They are likely to choose the recognizable and proximal people to sympathize with.
Empathy enables managers to understand if they have reached employees. Moreover, empathy allows managers and leaders to make follow up on the organizational activities and predict the effect of this decision or actions. Similarly, leaders who possess exceptional empathy are able to organize their labor force better since they understand not just the factual and analytical explanations but also the emotional feeling and thoughts of their employees. Conversely, executives who lack empathy may find it difficult to understand their employees because they lack the essential elements that help to build a mutual relationship that is based on understanding each other. Empathy involve considering of many ideas and sorting out the relevant information that is beneficial to the organization.Therefore, feeling empathy is not different from what others analysis, including stock analysis, so when scanning the market for anomalies or for tell-tale signs that help them realize the important things in every dealing.
Empathy helps managers and leaders in various organizations to relate to their employee’s needs and feelings by acting on their concerns aptly. Lack of empathy among business leaders leads to substantial costs of doing business and can pose difficulty for them when relating to the organizational culture. Moreover, it becomes difficult for managers to establish and develop the right corporate culture because it becomes difficult for them to relate intensely to subordinates. Today, the lack of empathetic leaders has been a significant contributor to the wave of sexual harassment incidents that have been experienced in the corporate world and led to multiple departures of accomplished leaders globally. Empathy is an innate human trait, although it can be learned to some degree. There is a spectrum of both weakness and strength in learning empathetic deeds depending on the leader’s will to learn. Some leaders are quicker to sense and naturally gifted than others in detecting their employee’s experiences.
Empathetic leaders have very successful businesses because they can read their employees’ emotions and can guide them accordingly. Empathy is part of the social behaviors and dispositions known as emotional intelligence that include interdependence, self-awareness, and sociability among others. Among executive leaders, some attributes are sufficiently distinct and useful predictors of successful executives. However, leaders should not mistake empathy with making workers feel happy since the employees might take empathetic actions for granted and take advantage of the situation by not delivering quality work. Thus leaders should be empathetic but assertive in every detail they undertake to ensure that the workers provide what is expected of them. Sometimes it is advisable to ignore them or use it to gain an advantage purposefully.
Empathy has limits because it exerts emotional and mental pressure on the leaders; hence it can impair their moral judgments. Consequently, empathetic leaders may demand too much from their employees and cause them to suffer thereby affecting job performance. However, the of employees’ suffering as result of empathetic leaders can be solved by asking them to focus on particular sets of tasks, and unique ways they can use to help the meet and address their shortcomings effectively. Empathy also depletes energy and cognitive resources such as concentration because it requires an unlimited supply of effort, especially when dealing with close colleagues or family. On the other hand, empathy towards insiders can limit a teams’ organization and capacity to empathize with other trading individuals outside the organization’s immediate systems. Additionally, preferential empathy can antagonize the people who the leaders are trading with.
Leaders and managers who possess high empathetic skills can pick up emotional cues easily because they appreciate the reasons people say what they have to say regarding the work processes. Conversely, those with limited empathy or lack some tend to misread others because they do not also follow up questions for clarity. Additionally, the leaders who lack empathy are more analytical about figures and facts tend to miss the non-verbal cues and completely miss out the actual message of what is being said.
Empathy can be learned by concentrating on current achievement orientation and concentrating on the critical abilities that will help the leader acquire empathy in progression. Empathy can be obtained with practice and under the guidance of an experienced coach who can mentor the leader and give them continuous feedback as they progress. Moreover, reading books and articles on how to build empathetic skills could also help to gain a significant cognitive understanding of what is required. Most importantly, both employees and their leaders need empathy to interact well with their clients, the general public, their suppliers and with each other.