Is Empathy As leadership Value, Valued? (video)

Is empathy as a leadership value, valued? from Peter Diamond on Vimeo.

This is a question I was recently asked by a client. As part of our work together, we defined a robust set of values. One of the values focuses on warmth, kindness and empathy. When my client was sharing their values with a colleague, they said that value wouldn’t be inappropriate for a leadership role in business. You would be viewed as soft especially in a competitive industry. This left my client reconsidering whether they could live to this value in the workplace. Does being an effective leader require a split personality? Do you have one set of leadership values and another set of personal values?

Inspirational leaders have a style that allows for empathy, warmth and kindness. I was delighted when I coincidentally came across the article Connect, Then Lead in Harvard Business Review and shared it with my client. Specifically, the article highlights the Happy Warrior as a leader who engenders influence and trust with a combination of warmth and strength. Warmth is present in how you interact others.

  • Speaking with a friendly conversational tone that signals your willingness to create an open dialog.
  • Listening and acknowledging other’s points-of-view. People want to know their feelings are being heard and validated.
  • Being sincere in all that you say and do. Your actions should come from a genuine place.
  • Leaning forward and smiling will show you’re engaged and help put people at ease.

I hold firm to the belief that your values should be consistent and transcend all aspect of your life including how you act as a leader. Not only will you be a more accomplished leader, you’ll find greater balance and happiness.