Do Entrepreneurs need Empathy to be Successful?
22nd January 2016
The truth is many entrepreneurs have been successful without much empathy. But my contention is that any entrepreneur can be more successful if they possess a good level of empathy, especially in the 21st century where demands and expectations of people (especially employees) are changing. Profit, efficiency and growth alone are not enough in today’s world. Leaders need to be ethical, authentic, emotionally aware and relationship builders. Organisations need to be people-centred, ethical and sustainable. Years of evidenced based research on leaders by LeaderShape has shown that the first step to accessing the motivational capability of today’s followers is Empathy. It is not only a basic building block for becoming a good leader but it is also the most commonly identified development need. There are many misconceptions about the meaning of “empathy” and a general lack of understanding of how one can develop it. In short, Empathy is “Sensing others’ emotions, understanding their perspective, and taking an active interest in their concerns.” Do not confuse empathy with “sympathy” which is about sharing emotions. Empathy is not about agreeing or sharing, it is fundamentally about understanding. Ask yourself these four questions:
  1. Do you listen attentively to what people say?
  2. Do you demonstrate an awareness of how others are feeling?
  3. Do you accurately identify the underlying causes of the other person’s perspective?
  4. Do you express an understanding of the other person’s perspective
If you achieve this most of the time you are on your way to becoming a great leader. Most people aren’t! However, anyone can be helped to develop these behaviours by working with an appropriate coach or taking part in the right kind of leadership development programme. Happy to tell you about my own story of how I developed empathy. Just send me an email. LeaderShape Global is an Oxfordshire based thought-leading development organisation. It works alongside clients to generate sustainable, measured organisational performance the development of leaders who lead beyond their ego to:
  • Embed authentic, ethical behaviours into the DNA of the organisation
  • Build strong, collaborative relationships based on emotional intelligence
  • Create a Performance Enhancing Culture… altogether known as Transpersonal Leadership.
LeaderShape differentiators include; a faculty of coach accredited senior executives able to connect strategy, behaviours and values; a set of unique diagnostic tools; and incorporating the latest findings from neuroscience research.  

About the author

John Knights is Chairman of <a href="">LeaderShape</a>. He is an acclaimed author and experienced international business leader who is passionate about developing leaders for the future.

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