6 Habits That Bring Out the Best Leader in All of Us.

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Leadership is about holding oneself and others accountable for our actions.  One of the Emotional Intelligence competences is empathy.   What would an empathic leader do differently? How would an empathetic leader impact the world around her?  Here are six habits with the potential to change the world we live in and become real leaders at work, at home and in our communities. 

  1. Cultivate curiosity about others. Get connected.
    • Highly empathic people have an insatiable curiosity about others.
    • They find other people more interesting than themselves.
    • Leaders, don’t be evaluators. Be engagers.
    • To improve your ability to be empathetic, talk to a stranger once a week.  All it takes is courage.
  2. Challenge staid perceptions of differences you have unconsciously adopted and discover commonalities. Be humble.
    • Turn a stranger into an acquaintance and an acquaintance into a friend.
    • If you have more connections on Facebook and LinkedIn than close friends and great relationships at work, then spend more time face to face with humans and less on social media.
  3. Try on another person’s life. Be aware.
    • All genuine education comes about through life experience and on the job training.
    • Conduct your own experiment. Try attending the services of faiths, beliefs different from your own or spend your vacation volunteering in an under privileged county or state. You don’t have to go to a developing country to learn from others who have a perspective which is different from yours.
  4. Listen hard and open up. Demonstrate mindfulness.
    • Be present with what is going on within the other person, experience the moment and master the art of radical listening.
    • Have the courage to be vulnerable. Removing our masks creates a common bond for the better.
  5. Inspire social change. Be the change.
    • Plant seeds of empathy where you are. The helplessness of apathy toward cultural and current events will give way to empathy, awareness and understanding on a collective scale.
    • Encourage, teach, and mentor emotional intelligence at home, work and in the community.
    • Sponsor an emotional intelligence training for non-profits.
    • Spread the wealth of empathy by sponsoring emotional intelligence training for teachers and high school students.
  6. Develop an ambitious imagination. Build trust.
    • We tend to believe that empathy should be reserved for those of us who are perceived as being less fortunate than others.  This myth somehow feeds our leadership egos. 
    • We really need to empathize with people whose opinions are different than ours.
    • When leaders are empathetic to those they disagree with, it is the first step toward practicing productive conflict, self-awareness, innovation, creativity and higher productivity.

             Midge Streeter

             Midge Streeter

As the Director of Talent Management & Culture, Midge Streeter leads three interrelated areas of professional focus: Culture Alignment and Employee Engagement, Leadership Development and Building Cohesive Teams. Through executive coaching, organizational and individual assessments, workshops and leadership retreats, Midge uses her years of experience in manufacturing, financial services, telecommunication and professional services, addition to a long list of certifications, to customize all organizational effectiveness solutions designed to help companies achieve their business goals.