4 Books That Can Help You Become a More Empathic Leader
Empathy lets you place yourself in another person’s position and understand and share in what they feel and experience. An article on Fast Company explains that an empathic leader in the workplace translates to higher rates of retention and engagement.
In these environments, employees feel listened to and acknowledged, especially when they’re looking for flexibility and support in their workplace.
However, you should learn to find the right amount of empathy, called neutral empathy, to establish clear expectations and prioritize accountability. This means employees know exactly what’s needed from them, while also having some breathing space to meet expectations and ask for assistance.
To help you develop the right kind of empathy for your employees, here are a few books you can read:
Applied Empathy: The New Language of Leadership by Michael Ventura
Some people may be innately more empathic than others, but it’s a skill that can certainly be learned and taught. Applied Empathy has foundations in fundamental psychology that aims to understand people and their dynamics with others.
In this book, Ventura demonstrates how empathy can be a powerful tool by first guiding you to grasp your employees’ individual skills and work ethics, allowing you to form a better connection with them.
Plus, empathy can also give you an advantage at management level because you’ll be better able to collaborate with them and run a more efficient team.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
Empathy is a cornerstone of the emotional intelligence, or EQ, skillset. That being said, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 talks about the importance of EQ as a whole, explaining how it’s your overall ability to understand emotions in yourself and others.
What’s more, Drs. Bradberry and Greaves give advice on how you can use this awareness to manage your behavior. As you practice empathy, you also build on the other core EQ skills — namely self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.
This book will help you develop your EQ skills into strengths and capitalize on them so you can perform better consistently.
What Are Your Blind Spots? Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back by Jim Haudan & Rich Berens
“Blind spots” are aspects of a job that leaders often fail to recognize as a source of employee disengagement. What Are Your Blind Spots? states that trust is one blind spot that you should pay attention to because this blind spot can cause you to create rigid workflows that limit your team.
If you keep this up, poor management will lead to high turnover rates, which is pretty common among startups, according to our article on ‘How to Solve 11 Biggest Hidden Small Business Problems’.
Given that your success will be dependent on your team, you need to learn how to be confident in your team’s ability to run the ship. To start off, try giving them more leeway to accomplish their tasks so they can learn how to manage themselves and their workloads.
Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown
Your idea of a daring leader is probably a strong and unshakeable person with status and titles. But in reality, it’s the opposite. Dare to Lead discusses that a truly daring leader is someone who’s not afraid to be vulnerable in front of others.
You may have experienced mentally drafting scathing counterarguments after someone baited you, but this behavior is actually a survival tactic to prevent yourself from feeling the discomfort of vulnerability.
This can be disastrous in the work environment. However, this book shows that rather than a weakness, vulnerability is simply human. When you learn to be more vulnerable, such as admitting when you’re unsure about something, you’re also starting a more open culture among your employees.
You can learn a lot from books, including core leadership skills. By reading these texts, you can better understand the importance of empathy in the workplace and find opportunities to practice these new lessons.
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About the Author
Eugen Spivak is a multi-award-winning author, business strategist, and a business coach. Eugen is the founder of the Canadian Institute of International Business, an organization dedicated to bringing practical and hands-on business education for modern business leaders.