Empathy is one of the most critical skills people can learn to become better leaders. As captain Jako Hall explains, displaying empathetic leadership can help hold your team together if times get tough.
When you display empathy, you show people that you share and understand their feelings. Empathy is not only an important part of daily interactions; it’s critical to emotional intelligence, too.
In an age when technology is making daily interactions less personal, humans crave connections with kind and caring people. Here are some ways to develop empathy skills that will improve your leadership.
Tip #1. Listen
An easy way to become more empathetic is to improve your listening skills. When you truly hear what someone else is saying, you’ll allow yourself to relate to their feelings and understand what they’re going through.
Good listeners encourage ideas to flow freely, present opportunities to create and improve relationships, and build rapport — all of which will help grow a business.
To become a better listener, you can follow simple rules you learned at a young age. Don’t interrupt people. Eliminate distractions. And pay attention.
Tip #2. Put Yourself in Others’ Shoes
As a leader, it can be challenging to see things from someone else’s perspective. You run your day-to-day from your perch atop the company and can often forget what it was like to serve in different roles.
If you want to be a great leader, though, you need to be able to see situations from someone else’s viewpoint. When you truly understand how someone else feels, you’ll be able to make decisions that will help them and guide them through a challenging situation.
When someone brings a problem or situation to you, you should ask yourself what you would want your manager to do if it were you. Putting yourself in others’ shoes is a great way to be more empathetic.
Tip #3. Form Solid Bonds
It’s hard to be empathetic if you don’t have a solid bond with someone. Empathy is all about caring, and it’s challenging to care about people we don’t truly know.
Jako Hall suggests that all leaders should work to form solid bonds with every team member. It might be difficult to have strong personal bonds with every employee in the company if you have a large business or a large team. That’s okay.
You can still get to know all the members of your team on a personal level to figure out what motivates them and what makes them tick. When you form solid bonds with people, you’ll facilitate a work culture that encourages open communication and caring among all people.
If you’re able to create such an environment, you’ll be fostering a culture that solves problems creatively and constructively and has discussions that lead to true innovations.
To form solid bonds, be more present with your team. Have more conversations about non-work topics such as families, hobbies and histories. Getting to know people personally goes a long way in improving empathy skills.
About Jako Hall
Jako Hall is an experienced mariner and a former naval officer known for his strong work ethic and ability to lead and motivate crews. He pursued Maritime Studies at the University of Technology in Cape Town and has received the highest level of training in Navigation and Seamanship during his years in the Navy. After 13 distinguished years in the Navy, Jako joined the superyacht industry, following his passion for creating unique and exclusive experiences for high-net-worth clients. He’s managed multi-million euro projects that required attention to detail and efficiency and has a proven track record of operating at sea in remote and unsupported areas.