The Power Of An Empathetic Leader

The Power Of An Empathetic Leader

If you could think of a time when you felt heard and understood by your manager, what would you say were their characteristics?

 Your answer would probably be that they were simply trying to put themselves in your shoes to understand you.

Have you ever felt like you didn’t understand a member of your team, a colleague, or a guest, what would you say were the reasons for this?

Was it maybe because you didn’t understand their point of view?

You couldn’t put yourself in their shoes?

You struggled to listen to understand them because they didn’t think like you?


What is an empathetic leader?

A person who displays a genuine concern for their team members, whether it is their emotional health, the challenges they may face, or even showing interest in their lives. One that demonstrates a willingness to truly understand their people’s point of view and uses this to make the best decisions. Having this knowledge and skill not only benefits the individual, but also strengthens the team culture and ultimately drives business success.

It goes back to the importance of maintaining the human touch in our workplace. To root ourselves in the fact that before we are employees or leaders, we are human beings first.

Empathy enables leaders to create meaningful connections with others, offer assistance, understand their requirements, establish trust, and forge strong relationships.

Rather than concentrating exclusively on the business outcomes, empathy allows leaders to also connect with their team members and respond to their needs by providing motivation, support, and comfort in times of distress.

In today’s competitive market, a person who is able to be empathetic is more likely to succeed and perform in their jobs through supporting the success of others too.

Someone who is just skilled, but unable to empathise with others, is missing a key competency that catapults their teams performance and, in turn, build loyalty and trust which are crucial for a high-performing team.


Characteristics that are essential when demonstrating empathetic leadership:

  • Professional development.
  • Create an environment for team members to feel safe and express their opinions and ideas without fearing judgment or retribution.
  • Ask meaningful questions and provide a safe space to express themselves. For example, if they are struggling with a project or task, unpick and understand where the issues lie and provide the appropriate solutions. This is also important when an employee’s performance declines as there maybe something else that is causing this.

These are all crucial when trying to create a healthy and safe work environment, especially when working in the hospitality industry. Employees should feel the same way we make our guests feel: welcome and appreciated.

This behaviour will breed similar behaviour. Your team is more likely to show the same level of empathy towards other staff and ultimately your customers/guests. It nurtures a culture of trust, kindness and care.

When leaders take good care of their employees, the guest experience is guaranteed to improve. Motivated and happy employees make even happier guests.

But there is one very important thing to remember when it comes to empathy in our workplace: When you lose the viewpoint of the people you’re responsible for managing, you tend to make rash decisions which can be costly in terms of time, employee turnover and maximising results.


We would all be better leaders if we could tap back into what it felt like to be led.

Think about the type of person you needed when you started out in your first job. Think about how you would’ve liked to be treated and be that for someone else. It only takes one person to make a significant difference to someone’s life or career, be that person and reap the benefits that follow.

Remembering what it felt like to be led means being able to stay humble and appreciative of everyone’s job.

It means that you’ve grown and learned things from the bottom all the way to the top, but you never forget or take for granted the hard work of the people around you.

Relying only on your cognitive ability leaves you short of human connection.

Connection is an innate need in every human being and the most successful leaders show strength in both IQ and EI. Without it, collaboration is challenging, feedback is almost impossible to deliver effectively, and it can result in a blame culture which slows down the delivery of business objectives.


Five traits to implement within your leadership style to be a more empathetic leader:

  1. Empathy: Of course! Empathetic leaders lead with empathy to support and grow their teams and organizations.
  2. Flexibility: This means they adapt and adjust their leadership style according to the situation, meeting the needs of their team.
  3. Compassion: Leaders need to display genuine care and concern for their team members’ well-being and understand their emotions and circumstances.
  4. Emotional intelligence: Empathetic leaders possess high levels of emotional intelligence; they understand and manage their own emotions as well as the teams.
  5. Approachability: This makes people feel comfortable enough to open up to their leaders. Leaders with empathy are always approachable and provide guidance and motivation to improve their team’s performance.


The Benefits of Being an Empathetic Leader:

There are countless benefits to being an empathetic leader within your organisation:

  • Boosting creativity throughout your team
  • Better engagement with coworkers
  • Improved communication
  • Better decision-making processes.

But at the end of the day, the most important benefit is to be able to connect with your own team and being more than just their boss.

To know that you can make a difference in the way that someone feels about themselves, or their jobs.

The power of being an empathetic leader is to know that you have the power to inspire and to help the people around you be an even greater version of themselves.


Do you want to know more about Leading with Empathy?

Click on the link Leading with Empathy or send an email to