3 Ways You Can Become a More Empathetic Leader

3 Ways You Can Become a More Empathetic Leader

Empathy is one of the foundational components of being a charismatic leader and a great salesperson, and for good reason.

We’ve all had bosses who were capable at what they did but failed to show an ounce of interest in us, our challenges, our fears, our hopes, or ourselves in general. Ignoring those key parts of our emotional state – they are, of course, many of the things that drive us to get up in the morning and take on new responsibilities and tasks – is the exact opposite of what a charismatic leader is. 

Like almost any other skill, empathy can be learned, and a mounting body of evidence suggests that learning empathy today is perhaps more important than ever. Societally, according to one report discussed by the American Psychological Association, we are less empathetic as a whole and more narcissistic. Despite that, people still need empathy from their leaders, so let’s look at how it can be learned. Here are three key elements to teaching yourself to be a more empathetic person: 

Seek Out New Experiences & Perspectives

People who lack empathy may do so because they have never been in your shoes, so to speak. Without knowing about and appreciating the struggles of others, it can be hard to understand why people are the way they are. A way to overcome this is to get out and see how other people live, whether that is by starting conversations with strangers, reading articles and books from people with different backgrounds, or simply being curious about what the lives of other people are like. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Emotionally Connect with People

If you want people to connect with you, you need to connect with them. Connecting with people, and connecting emotionally with a lot of people, will expose you to these new experiences and perspectives. Seeing people act empathetically with you will teach you how to have empathy with them, too, and seeing a lack of empathy will show you the ramifications of not being empathetic yourself. When connecting with people, take the time to listen to them without trying to solve their problems. Think back to a time when you had similar problems or feelings. Training yourself to open your emotions to people will increase your ability to be empathetic with people you are not naturally close to. 

Acknowledge That You Have Biases, Then Work Past Them

Becoming a charismatic leader means you will need to acknowledge your personal biases and preconceived notions, no matter if they are centered around race, gender, the presence of tattoos, a penchant for loud clothing, or a preference for food you can’t stand. Acting on your biases slows or even stops your ability to empathize with others and can even cause false perceptions about the abilities or qualities of people who are not like you. Once you are aware of your biases you automatically become more aware of yourself and others – a key component of creating empathy.

Empathy is just one piece to mastering the art and science of charisma. Download our guide to learn more about the art of charisma. 
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