Only 11 percent of senior leaders are effective at displaying empathy and maintaining other’s esteem.
3. Empathy is the linchpin soft skill.
Of all the leadership soft skills, empathy is arguably the most critical. In his book “Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution” author Roman Krznaric said empathy “is not just about seeing things from another perspective. It’s the cornerstone of smart leadership. The real competitive advantage of the human worker will be their capacity to create relationships which means empathy will count more than experience.”
Using the DDI database on new frontline leaders, we correlated the effect of each interaction skill on overall assessment performance and each of four leadership tasks. Empathy was the most foundational soft skill, with the largest positive relationship across the board, followed by encouraging the involvement of others.
The mind is a powerful asset, and like any other organ it needs equal rest and stimulation. It's become obvious that our workplaces are increasingly stressful with longer work hours, high pressure deadlines and increased workloads.
To have executives change character will always be an uphill struggle but they can learn to improve their behavioural reactions to difficult situations and develop greater emotional intelligence that will turn them into more effective leaders.
In my experience, though, most of today’s workers—and senior executives perhaps most of all—lack what they need, whether it’s meditation or a different approach, to balance and offset the demands of their “anywhere, everywhere” roles in today’s corporations. The famous hitter Ted Williams, at the conclusion of a long baseball season, used to go hunting and fishing to relax and recharge. Winston Churchill was an amateur painter who once said, “If it weren’t for painting, I couldn’t live. I couldn’t bear the strain of things.”
Most executives can’t disappear for long stretches to go fishing, and picking up painting sounds daunting. But they can use simple versions of proven meditation techniques to improve the quality of their lives, even if it’s only by increments. My purpose in this article isn’t to tell you whether, or how, to meditate; there are several flavors of meditation and I have only really ever tried the tradition of Vipassana.3 Instead, I will describe how it has helped me deal with three common challenges faced by leaders: email addiction, coping with disappointment, and becoming too insular.
German novelist and playwright Gustav Freytag wanted to understand how storytelling impacted the human psyche. He wondered, “What makes a story so engaging that it changes a person’s behavior?” After studying William Shakespeare’s work, Freytag designed a map of storytelling—a key that explained why the man considered ‘the greatest writer [...]
Some people have the gift of gab, and can talk to anyone about anything. And some people struggle to make small talk. What separates the two isn’t knowing what to talk about; it’s polishing up your communication skills so you can keep a good conversation going.
"Good conversations require a give and take, just like keeping a ball in the air during a game of catch," says Anne Green, president and CEO of CooperKatz & Company, a communications and media-training firm with clients that include Richard Branson. "When someone directs a question your way—when the ball is thrown to you—you should always respond with an answer that will continue the flow of dialogue, passing the ball back and never letting it drop."
Brian Tracy posed a pointed question: "Are you the kind of leader you would want to follow?" Amazingly, in many cases, the answer appears to be no. Dr. Nico Rose does a great job of curating interesting news from the world of positive psychology and came up with this gem: When [...]
So why is it, with all this technology available to us and a world seemingly infatuated with social apps, so many collaboration initiatives fail to meet expectations?
One of the most common mistakes strategists make is to assume that collaboration is an outcome. An end state. They assume that providing digital tools and modern working spaces will, unless the world caves in, result in an end state of workplace collaboration.
Box ticked. All good.
Many organizations are discovering that this isn’t a given. All that new stuff, along with the clarion call to arms of "Now we can all collaborate!" can have a very different effect. Digital tools without a clear driver or vision can create an altogether new form of digital workflow chaos — too many tools, too many options. Adding additional complexity and confusion, without any clear sense of how this new way of working is helping anyone.
Being an effective leader means mastering skills from five key themes, a new study has found.
Dr Sunnie Giles, an organizational scientist and leadership development consultant, undertook research to find out the traits needed to be an effective leader. Her research involved 195 leaders across 15 countries.
Participants were asked to identify the 15 most important leadership competencies from a list of 74. The top 10 were then grouped into five main themes that all leaders should aspire to achieve.
“These five areas present significant challenges to leaders due to the natural responses that are hardwired into us,” Dr Giles notes.
She goes on to say that with “deep self-reflection and a shift in perspective… there are also enormous opportunities for improving everyone’s performance by focusing on our own.”
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