EMPATHY AND LEADERSHIP

Audience:

Corporate – groups of up to 10 people from one company

Objective

To improve your leadership style through empathy and trust building

Awareness: What makes a good leader?

Explore and analyse examples of good and bad leadership from the past and present and discover what we can learn from them.

Application

Having identified personal strengths and shortcomings, to develop techniques for improvement.

Method

Building empathy through role playing, use of language/conversation exercises, use of voice for leadership. Listening skills. Body language awareness and developing presence.

What makes a leader

Either you are born to lead or you are not! True. You must have certain essential traits, traits such as creativity, vision and commitment. But these traits are not enough to guarantee success. As a leader you have to bind other people to you and inspire them to stay with you on your journey, willingly and wholeheartedly, however rough the road.

Having vision or giving orders are not enough to get people to work for a shared objective. A leader must show respect and humility, be prepared to listen, and learn to admit fault. A leader must be open and fair and kind. A leader must be generous and honest but assertive when necessary.

Giving orders

For long term success with a loyal team, leaders can no longer depend on the power -downwards way of operating, the heavy hand of power. When they try it disaster usually follows. Here is a good example:

Some twenty years ago, the flagship British company Marks and Spencer was almost bankrupted. The senior management was afraid of being honest with the CEO, a bully with a quick temper. He did not get the true financial picture until it was almost too late. All that saved the company was the fact that it had sleeping collateral in property. If one angry, rude bully can almost destroy a multi-billion pound company like M&S, just think what can happen elsewhere!

Alternatively, anyone who has seen the film “Lincoln” will have an excellent idea of what makes a great leader. The film opens with him asking black and white soldiers for their views of the war. He listens to learn, to give encouragement and to inspire. Importantly, he also listens to be encouraged himself. He has time for the opinions of the humblest foot soldier.

Luckily, we can learn Lincoln’s skills. It’s all about manners.

Presence, Appearance and Manners Matter

Since history began, society has depended on people getting on with people. The code of educated behaviour was first formulated by the Greeks and Romans, Cicero, in particular. Baldassare Castiglione brought it up to date in 16th century with his best- selling manual entitled “Il Corteggiano.” These are the rules you had to know then and still have to know if you want to get anywhere in society. Fundamentally, this code teaches us to empathise with other people. Empathy is essential for leadership.

In the 19th century George Bernard Shaw wrote, “The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that’s the essence of inhumanity.” And there is a lot of indifference in the workplace.

How do we show indifference to other people? We ignore them. We avoid eye contact. . We give a lukewarm hand shake or we give a hand shake that pushes people away. We don’t smile when we see them. We don’t ask them for their opinions. We don’t try to engage them in conversation. We don’t empathise.

How often do we give that impression of indifference without even being aware of it? And, what is the cost and loss to us?

Whatever the situation, whether communicating with friends, employees or with large groups, we need to be sure that we are giving the right signals of engagement. That we are empathising. This develops trust and cooperation, essential for leadership.

The Ten Commandments for social success as a leader

  1. Always be polite and show consideration.
  2. Be genuinely interested in other people
  3. Be able to talk on a wide series of topics
  4. Learn to listen
  5. Pay compliments, if sincere.
  6. Conceal your likes and dislikes
  7. Don’t talk about money
  8. Learn to lose with grace, uncomplainingly
  9. Never cheat!
  10. Never use bad language

Your Tutor: Richard Berkeley

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E: sales@mdvtraining.bg
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