Leading with Empathy: The Human Side of Effective Management

Leaders in an organisation are an integral part of the organisation, but to develop effective leadership, they should be empathetic towards their team members or employees. Empathetic leaders and managers are capable of understanding the needs and demands of the employees and can also understand what their employees feel. They put themselves in their place and think about the situation. Thus, empathetic leaders and managers move an organisation at good times and bad times. Organisations in today’s generation place emphasise this skill and prioritise those who possess this characteristic. This blog will identify whether empathetic leaders and managers have any influence on the job performance of employees. Now, let’s explore why empathy is important.

What do you mean by Empathetic Leader?

If you think sympathy is similar to empathy, you are wrong; there is a slight difference between empathy and sympathy. Empathy refers to the characteristic of the individual where people place their sleeves in the shoes of the other and make decisions based on others’ perspectives. So, leaders and managers who practice empathetic behaviour are seen as the best performers. In other words, empathetic behaviour is proportional to the performance of the employees.

Empathy in the Workplace

Empathetic behaviour in the workplace demands that organisational leaders and managers ensure that they are capable of relating themselves to the thoughts, emotions and experiences of others. Also, empathetic behaviour in the organisation refers to the employees having built a strong relationship among themselves, and thus, this leads to fostering job performance.

Do remember the following points:

  • Sympathy: It refers to a situation where you show pity to someone, but you don’t place yourself in their situation.
  • Empathy: This refers to a situation where you place yourself in other’s positions and then make a decision.

Empathy in the workplace is more effective and productive than sympathy.

How can one adopt a more empathetic leadership?

There are numerous ways that leaders may adopt to give it a shape, but I will suggest they can adopt the following four ways:

Identify signs of burnout among the employees

Work burnout is a common phenomenon in today’s generation. Employees show that they are taking too much work pressure and stress, which increases worker turnover. Also, due to work pressure, they need more time for family and friends.
So here comes the role of empathetic leaders, who must ensure they can recognise the signs of overwork and stress. To recognise this, leaders and managers can arrange for meetings where they will interact with the employees and team members, solve their problems, and provide them with the best possible solutions.

Give value to their hopes and dreams

Showing empathetic behaviour towards employees and team members also involves valuing your team members’ dreams, needs, and demands. You should support them and assign tasks that perfectly fit their interest.

Support your employees in professional as well as problems

This is common. Every individual faces some challenges in their personal life. In the modern era, employees need to face a lot of hurdles in their professional lives as well as in their personal lives. So, being a leader, if you can address those challenges, help them with the best possible solutions. Also, encourage your employees to maintain crystal-clear communication. But it would help if you remembered that the employees will share their thoughts when you make them feel safe and comfortable.

Be compassionate towards your employees

Empathy is often used as a powerful tool that managers utilise to connect with others, thus establishing a strong bond. Always try to be compassionate and empathetic for their loss.

How can organisations encourage empathetic Leadership?

Organisations can adopt the following mentioned tips to encourage empathetic behaviour in the workplace:

  • Speak about empathy in the workplace

Being a leader or a manager of a company emphasises empathy and makes them familiar with empathetic behaviour. This will help to enhance the performance and productivity of the team members.

  • Teach them listening skills

You should possess good listening skills to identify what your team members wish for. When employees feel that a manager or a leader is a good listener, they gain more respect and value and feel comfortable sharing their problems.

  • Encourage your team members

Managers should continuously encourage their team members and should respect their perspectives. And even if you feel that the opinions are useless, you should not directly reject them; this may hurt the employees.

Cultivating Compassion: As an organisation’s manager and project leader, you should know that cultivating compassion plays a vital role. It would be best to consider what others feel and what is going through them, thus responding according to their situation and showing them concern and pity. This would make themes realise that you value their feelings, and thus, they will get moral support.

Why Empathy is a Human Side of Management?

Effective management is becoming an important aspect of all organisations with each passing day. Nowadays, organisations deal with a large pool of employees and operate in multiple functions. Thus, they hire employees from various fields. Thus, handling a large pool of employees with various expertise needs effective management with empathetic leaders and managers who can understand and address their challenges in the best possible way. In addition, the organisation’s C-suite management approach demands transformation in the leadership approach. With the traditional management approach, Iwa believed there was no place to show the employees emotion and pity; a manager or a leader should be stoic in the workplace. It was believed that leaders are not meant to show sentiment to the employees, but with the modern management approach, the scenario is different. With the outbreak of COVID-19, it has brought a drastic change in work mode. And the transformation in the work culture has disrupted the norm of the companies, and the paradigm of the leadership demands a change that will be committed to effective management practices.

It has been found from the studies that Empathy, which is considered a soft skill, plays a vital role in effective management/. Organisations incorporating a shift in the work culture look for managers and leaders with these soft skills. To create an inclusive work environment within the organisation, the leaders should interact with them and make them believe that they are free to share their feelings and will get support from the organisation in every situation. Empathetic leaders are seen to be more effective and ensure increasing employee engagement within the organisation. When employees feel that they are being valued and respected, that also improves the company’s reputation and attracts new talents.


Empathy has become a necessary element that most organisations are looking for. Empathy leadership is considered a soft skill that refers to a situation where the project leader and manager of the organisation show their employees a feeling of pity and emotionally support them by understanding the situation as per their employees’ views. So, an empathetic manager plays a vital role in the organisation. The effective management approach demands empathetic leadership, and today’s generation also looks for managers who possess this quality. If a manager or a leader wants to become more empathetic, they can adopt some strategies that can help them; they should identify whether the employees are over-stressed and overworked, value their dreams, and ensure that they are capable of bridging the gap between goals and needs, should support their employees at good as well as at bad times. And should be compassionate with them. As the organisation has undergone significant transformation in their organisational work culture and function, they demand new versions of leaders who are effective enough to handle employees at the workplace. Leaders and managers can be empathetic towards their employees when they continuously interact with them. Communication plays a vital role in effective management. This allows them to understand what they feel and the challenges they face in their professional life. Being a leader and managers of an organisation, along with the professional hurdles, they should also address their challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is empathy?

Empathy refers to the ability to understand what others feel from their point of view.

Q2. What is the difference between sympathy and empathy?

Sympathy refers to a situation where you show pity to someone, but you don’t place yourself in their situation. On the other hand, empathy refers to a situation where you place yourself in another’s position and then make a decision.

Q3. Why empathetic leadership is important?

Empathetic leadership plays a pivotal role within an organisation and ensures higher employee engagement; thus, this leads to more productivity, and employees feel more motivated and committed to the organisation.

Q4. How leaders and managers can be more empathetic?

There are numerous ways that leaders may adopt to be more empathetic. This involves having good listening skills and valuing everyone’s feelings and perspectives; they should also help their employees achieve their goals and accomplishments and cultivate compassion within the workplace.

Q5. Why is empathy a human side of management?

Empathy is considered a core element that serves the organisation with success and high productivity, lowers employee burnout and turnover rate and attracts new talents. Human leaders can only connect with the employees; thus, empathy is the human side of management, and they make an approachable and relatable environment that fosters effective management practice within an organisation.

Author Bio: Mark Edmonds, a committed creator at Academic Assignments, capably consolidates a significant comprehension of viable management and sympathy driven leadership. He has some expertise in offering top-quality assignment help, especially in leadership assignments. With a resolute obligation to cultivating understudy achievement, his very much sharpened bits of knowledge, created through long stretches of academic expertise, give significant viewpoints on the job of humane leadership in accomplishing hierarchical greatness.