8 Tips To Become an Empathetic Leader

Dr. Ankit Sharma, PhD

Tips To Become an Empathetic Leader

More empathetic leaders are required as a result of the growing emphasis on a leadership approach that incorporates emotional intelligence, wellness, and work-life balance—better yet, life-work balance. The epidemic has brought attention to the need for leaders to cultivate more empathy as a leadership competency, especially in light of concerns about people’s well-being, rising living expenses and inflation, and significant shifts like job losses and remote work. Leadership must follow tips to become an empathetic leader.

As part of DEI projects, multigenerational working and cooperation with global, multiethnic teams requires leaders to be flexible and respectful of each generation, harnessing their capabilities and meeting everyone’s requirements as much as feasible.

The research found that while just 13% of employees report having less empathetic senior leaders, an estimated 61% of individuals with highly empathic senior leaders report being inventive at work often or constantly.

How To Be An Empathetic Leader

1. Be Authentic

Being authentic is one of the best tips to become an empathetic leader. Empathy is a natural emotion. They will be able to tell if you don’t care about your people or their emotions. Being genuine is the only way you can earn their confidence.

Attempt to establish trustworthy, open connections with the individuals in your organization. While you don’t always have to follow their recommendations, you do need to show that you appreciate their viewpoints and provide pertinent justifications for your decision to act on or not act upon their advice.

Never try to control your feelings. Express your happiness. Express your anger if you are. You get the idea! You are friendly and relatable because of all these human qualities.

2. Practice Active Listening

The capacity to actively listen, which comprises enabling team members and workers to share their opinions and thoughts in a nonjudgmental setting, is a fundamental skill of compassionate leadership.

Employees who experience psychological safety from active listening feel heard and are not subjected to punishment or condemnation. Recognize and affirm the speaker, and resist the need to interject with your thoughts, views, or assessments.

3. Acknowledge Different Point of Views

Recognizing different perspectives is one of the great ways to become an empathetic leader. Try to identify the perspectives of your customers if you want to comprehend the attitude of your company.

Many corporate executives believe that everyone in the company shares and embraces their ideals. It’s just not true as stated. Neglecting to pay attention to your staff and clients will often result in bad company choices and disgruntled stakeholders across the board.

4. Imagine Yourself in Their Situation

Putting yourself in your team member’s shoes for a moment is one of the greatest tips to become an empathetic leader. As leaders, we may sometimes become so cut off from day-to-day activities that we forget that we are in charge of people, not machines.

Consider your team’s viewpoint before making a choice that may hurt them or be seen as such, and consider how you might prepare your team for this possible shift. How can I thoroughly prepare them so they won’t be left feeling unsettled and know what to expect? Does this adjustment even need to be made? What other avenues may I pursue?

5. Be Self-Aware And Sympathetic

It’s challenging to comprehend and connect with your folks. Unusually, you will be able to completely comprehend their experiences and adventures; therefore, you need to make an effort to identify with the feelings they are expressing.

As you find out how they’re feeling, make a comparison to previous comparable experiences. “How did I feel when my boss ignored me?” is one example. “Would I enjoy carrying out that task?” This will assist you in being acutely aware of the thoughts, feelings, and words of your people. It will also make you more perceptive to mood swings in others and more empathetic.

6. Offer Support

Consider all of the possible avenues for providing your team members with active assistance that are appropriate for their particular situation and degree of performance. Provide training, pair underperforming employees with internal peer mentors, and keep the doors open. Consider the situations that could arise in the lives of your team members and where you will be most needed.

How can you modify their work schedule or duties to accommodate, for instance, if they are having medical procedures, taking maternity leave, need to take long-term leave due to sickness or depression, or are going through a time of bereavement?

7. Ask, Listen And Reflect

Posing queries, listening to answers, and thinking about them is one of the ways to become an empathetic leader. Asking them is the best method to find out how they are feeling. As a result, rather than figuring out what will assist people and improve culture, leadership teams end up being out of touch with their employees and making assumptions.

Set aside your prejudices and opinions to learn the true emotion of your company. Based on their responses, you can then begin to recognize them and share the strategies you are carrying out. This will make you seem like a kind and understanding leader. Employee engagement, empowerment, and retention will all greatly benefit from this. It is one of the vital tips to become an empathetic leader.

8. Explore Different Ways to Provide Feedback

The majority of workers are ravenous for criticism that advances their careers. However, the way that feedback is given has the power to either inspire and encourage higher levels of productivity or demotivate and impede production and outcomes. 

Continuous and continuing feedback is a feature of an organization with high empathy. It just takes a moment to consider how someone else could interpret the comments, which makes the delivery purposeful and productive.

That does not imply that you avoid making tough choices or having uncomfortable talks. It is always possible to manage a tough choice in an empathic manner, and it may even be an act of empathy in and of itself. It’s not sympathetic, for instance, to let someone consistently perform below expectations because they are doing the incorrect job.

As leaders, it is our responsibility to steer staff members and our companies in directions that promote success on both the individual and organizational levels. 

The Importance of Empathy In Work Environments

As the public becomes more aware of the value of mental health, workplaces are expanding their leadership techniques to include more empathy. Empathy in the workplace is also important, according to research, which lists it as one of the three components of the “emotional framework” that managers and their teams must develop to foster trust in the workplace.

Specifically, what is empathy? Although the term “sympathy” is often used synonymously, social science distinguishes between the two terms as comparable but separate qualities that managers might utilize when interacting with staff members. We often characterize empathy as a component of a spectrum of human-centered qualities that extend from compassion (“I see your pain and am here to help”) to pity (“I feel sorry for you”). In essence, empathy expresses, “I feel for you.”

How crucial is following these tips to become an empathetic leader for the success of an organization? According to a study by Harvard Business Publishing, which examined the elements of “top performing” organizations, the top 7% of these businesses were much more likely to state that their organizational culture places a strong emphasis on empathy.


Q: Which kind of leadership is empathetic?

A: Empathetic leadership is a leadership approach that focuses on understanding and relating to others’ perspectives. Genuine interest in those around them, including their motivations, feelings, and what makes them tick, is shown by empathetic leaders.

Q: What happens if a leader shows too much empathy?

A: When misinterpreted and used by the wrong individual, empathy may also be abused and used against others. Overempathy with those who are similar to you may sometimes result in unintentional prejudices. People may lose faith in a leader’s good intentions if they encounter any of these.

Q: What part does empathy play in leadership?

A: Additionally, empathy helps you become more visible in your leadership capacity. It may be challenging and distracting to juggle obligations, but practicing empathy helps you become more attentive and teaches you patience. Demonstrating empathy will make others feel comfortable approaching you.

Leave a Comment