Welcome back as we resume our Dadtrepreneur series and view leadership through the lens of a good dad. Two additional attributes of a good dad include empathy and effective communication (verbally expressive). It should be no surprise that empathy and effective communication made the list of a good mom and dad that links to the attributes of a leader. Why is that? Let's explore further.
Psychology Today defines empathy as "the ability to recognize, understand, and share the thoughts and feelings of another person, animal, or fictional character." An adage for empathy is "putting yourself into another person's shoe." While you do not necessarily have to agree with the person or their decision, allowing the person to feel heard, respected, and valued at the forefront with correction at an alternate time. Make no bones about it; correction must be revisited at a foreseeable juncture. Whether a parent, dad, or CEO, empathy is an essential attribute in cultivating a healthy family or work culture. To bolster empathy in your family or work culture, you may do the following:
Convene meetings- allow the team members to voice their concerns. You, in turn, as a leader, must be present and listen.
During this time, it's a beautiful opportunity to impart empathy to your team. Reinforce the art of stepping into someone's shoe and making this a focal point in your meetings will foster a more empathetic work culture. Same for family engagements.
Reflect on empathy and caring based on what is going on in the world. For example, regardless of the views on war, we can empathize with the families and the victims impacted by war or gun violence.
Once you and your team have matured, you can convene meetings to discuss ethical dilemmas and what-if scenarios to nurture empathy. We must transition from the "ME" culture to a culture of servitude.
You may then wonder if there is a difference between compassion and empathy? The answer is a resounding yes. Then your next question should be, which is the more important trait? CPR response is that it depends. Compared, empathy can be classified as being able to feel someone else's pain and convey it. Conversely, compassion is doing something to assist the person in need or alleviate their pain. To repeat, it depends on the situation. Sometimes, the person needs an empathetic ear; other times, they need your action to assist. This reminds me of the scripture that underscores the importance of faith without works. That is, what good is a man if he asks for food and clothing and you bless him. The immediate concern is food and clothing. A person of empathy should be able to listen to how this person ended up in a particular situation while offering them money, lunch, clothes, etc. Prudence comes with prayer and experience. The more you exercise prudence, the better you will be able to know when you need to apply empathy, compassion, or both.
2. Being verbally expressive-Effective communicator
This attribute comes with being just. As a leader, you have to exercise discipline while displaying love, compassion, and empathy at times. For the non-manipulator, this signifies understanding how you communicate and how you can improve. CCL recommends three parts to communicating: authenticity, visibility and listening. To communicate, either as a parent or CEO, you must be just and fair, without belittling or controlling. If you forgo the area of discipline, you are undoubtedly on your way to creating a mountain of issues. So, discipline is essential, whether through coaching or mentoring, but the issue must be flagged and addressed in real-time. Do not transmit mixed messages. You may risk a harsh response; however, you have options if it's an employee. Suppose it's a dad vs child scenario, then you are better off taking a risk now and disciplining the child than receiving a call from authorities later on in life. Going through the steps, you must authenticate your authority and demonstrate that you care about the subject at hand by being present. Transmitting communication through emails (if an employee) or expressing your love through birthday gifts (if a child) is a recipe for disaster that will only build resentment. Have a physical presence. Lastly, listening is one-third of the formula for communicating. If you are not listening, what are you responding to?
In retrospect, as a leader, you agree to assume many responsibilities, including that of your team's emotional wellness. Be sure to create a safe, positive, and creative work culture while honing your leadership attributes. Do you agree? Leave your thoughts and comments.
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