Do you need empathy to be a leader?

February 29th, 2020 by Ken

I recently attended a retreat by the Lacey City Council and senior city staff.  As a relationship building exercise, the attendees were asked to list the traits they saw, or desired in their fellow members of the council.  They were to rank those qualities on a board where several types of qualities were listed.

Traits on the board included: integrity, innovative, professional, leadership, collaboration, diversity, productivity, accountability, stewardship and empathy.

When the final accounting was done, integrity, collaboration and accountability were ranked the highest.   The lowest – – empathy.

The dictionary defines empathy as the ability to project oneself into another persons personality in order to share in another’s emotions or feelings.   In other words, the ability to understand the feelings of another person. (My reading of the word.)

I want those in leadership positions to understand my feelings, but more importantly I want them to FEEL what I feel.  By so doing, they can better grasp how the actions they take impact me.

So my question – – Is empathy necessary to be a good leader?

Posted in Government, The Real News


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