Empathy is the understanding that the other person doesn’t know what you know, doesn’t believe what you believe and might not want what you want, and that’s okay.
Bringing this level of empathy to your relationships and interactions will help you have more powerful, productive interactions that build up your ability to influence and lead in all your relationships.
There are three different types of empathy:
- Cognitive: I know how you think
- Emotional: I know how you feel
- Empathetic Concern: I care about you
If you are really good at the first two but lack empathetic concern, used alone they can be used to manipulate people. This is evident in overachieving bosses with very high personal standards of excellence, who get promoted early and thrive in command-and-control cultures.
They are great at pushing people to meet short-term targets - they communicate well because of their cognitive empathy and know their words will carry weight with their employees because of their emotional empathy - but because they lack empathetic concern they don’t care about the cost to the person. In addition to being morally wrong, this creates emotional exhaustion and burns people out.
Although effective in the short term, this industrialist mentality is no longer acceptable and is no solution to creating long-term, meaningful change.
Empathetic concern bridges the gap between the industrialist manager and the leader of the future. The leader who understands that behind every conversation and interaction with colleagues, there is a husband, a wife, a child, a brother, a sister, hobbies, passions, interests, goals, desires, dreams, worries and concerns.
Lead with Empathy.