Why Empathy is So Important in Leadership

It was evident from our conversation that we both wholeheartedly agreed.  Entry level positions within most organizations are not valued by their leaders.  My colleague overheard our conversation and spoke up about the turnover problems he was experiencing within the entry level positions on his team as well.   The logical questions were simple:

  • If the jobs are so nonessential, why does the company continue to offer the position?
  • Why is the organization ok with high turnover?

I couldn’t help but think about the“Peter Principle” and feel his department or the organization as a whole was not going to change. This meant, employees wouldn’t be valued and turnover was going to be a continual problem.

Buckingham and Coffman discuss this in First, Break All The Rules.  The authors continually write about “what managers need to know” as well as the six questions every manager/leader should be thinking about.  The opposite was occurring in this situation–not thinking about how to solve the problem, rather providing a quick fix in hopes it will go away.  Not focusing on what needs to be learned, rather on what can be ignored.

The underlying problem in most organizations is the lack of empathy by leaders.   If a leader is not willing to provide some level of empathy about any position or challenges individuals in those roles face (especially for the low level positions) the people in those positions are always going to be disposable.  The same problems will always exist, people and positions will not be valued.

The use of empathy will go a long way to help leaders understand that every position in organizations are important, not just the positions at the top.

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About the Author:  Greg Jones is excited about helping people learn, especially about leadership. Find out more about him on LinkedIn.

 

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