Nov 1, 2022
In this episode, Anna describes how you can become an empathic leader and what may be in the way of empathy.
Many worry that they can empathise too much and become 'swamped' by another person's emotions. This can be particularly stressful for the busy leader who is already juggling many responsibilities, and many of which will not be obvious. Anna describes that it isn't possible to be overwhelmed with empathy, if you look after your own emotions, and have kindly and considerate boundaries that look after you.
Anna describes why it's tricky and challenging to describe what empathy is, for those who struggle to empathise with their own emotions and in turn their behaviours based on their emotions. This episode was created because people have said that they struggle with this concept and why it's important and more importantly how to empathise and convey care.
This episode describes Anna’s executive training on what she calls the ‘Full Emotional Palette where she supports leaders around the world to develop ease with all emotions so that they do not hinder their other leadership skills. A positive off-shoot to this being that leaders with a full emotional palette will naturally empathise with others without their own energy being used up!
When leaders are already overwhelmed and therefore under-resourced it's often very difficult to empathise with other people's points of view or feeling/emotions. It's not that they don't care, it's just that they can't for the time being. Anna describes how if a leader is self-aware and is accepting of their own emotional world they tend to be more accepting of the emotional world of their colleagues.
Anna describes the myth of becoming overwhelmed or having compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is really when an individual struggles to empathise or have compassion for themselves. Not that they don't care, it's simply that they have no resources to care.
In order to care for somebody else whilst your own needs are ignored empathy simply takes up more energy than they have to spare. This is why people get worn down, and feel overwhelmed.
If a leader is concerned about being swamped by other people that really is an indication that they are already swamped with their workload or indeed their own personal experiences, demands and emotions as we all are at times in life.
Anna talks about how empathy is felt and not just spoken and how this can be difficult to be clear about. She endeavours to do so even though she even gets herself in a 'pickle' with the subject towards the end!!
Why is empathy important. To be able to feel into a colleague’s views, emotions, experiences meaning you can understand what that person brings to the table play to their strengths support their so-called weaknesses.
Why is empathy in leadership important and why does it belong on this pod. Without empathy it’s hard to be kind. Kindness in leadership is where a leader can empathise enough to help make working life for the other better and not worse. Kindness can be used to ease challenging times, it can be used to make difficult information more palatable. It can create solidarity and deepen relationships. Empathy and Kindness are connected and are core values to a positively impactful leader.