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Why Leadership Development Must Include Empathy

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

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Leadership development is important goal from the small business owner to the Fortune 500 companies. A recent report from Sherpa Coaching revealed that leadership development is the basis for 49% of all executive coaching.

After reading this extensive report and the many other reports on coaching, one can not help but wonder why the emphasis on leadership skills or what many call the soft skills. However, the research suggests that the development of these critical skills dramatically increases emotional intelligence. One of the foundational concepts within emotional intelligence is the ability to intellectually or emotionally identify with another. Empathy is that ability.

Leadership in today's diverse global market place demands the ability to relate to others if the leader truly wants to achieve the desired results. Without results, businesses will fail.

The old leadership role of “It's my way or the highway” might have worked when everyone shared the same values, the same ethnic origins and the same belief systems. However, people in the 21st century are smarter not to mention quite different than their ancestors. These people experience more change in one year than their grandparents experienced in their entire lifetime. All of this change creates additional stress and pushes them to seek other opportunities to realize their dreams. Effective leaders must be able to relate to these changes if they want to achieve the predetermined results.

Daniel Goleman in his book Working with Emotional Intelligence (EQ) speaks directly to the impact of EQ from the variety of studies he researched. One research study conducted by Richard Boyatzis of 2,000 supervisors, middle managers and executives at 12 different organizations revealed EQ separated high performers from average ones in 14 of 16 competencies. An even larger multi-national study of 286 organizations demonstrated that over 80% of the general competencies that identify superior performance depend on high emotional intelligence more so than pure cognitive abilities.

Goleman's definition of empathy is a social competence where we are aware of another's feelings, needs and concerns. He further explains that emotional intelligence determines “our potential for learning. " Empathy is one of the five elements that he discusses.

Having a high degree of empathy and being able to use that emotional competency is truly a “no brainer. " Empathy can be developed within any individual especially those in leadership roles. The challenge is to include this capacity within your leadership development for your organization and even yourself.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M. S. is a business coach and executive coach with offices in Indianapolis and near Chicago. She writes, speaks and coaches people in businesses to quickly double or triple results through the creation of an executable strategic plan along with the necessary leadership skills “to pull it off. "

One quick question, if you could secure one new client or breakthrough that one roadbloack holding you back from success, what would that mean to you? Then, take a risk and give me, Leanne, a call at 219.759.5601 for a free telephone consultation. Our cilents have achieved significant, sustainable and measurable results.

Visit and explore everything from free articles to connecting with Leanne.


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