Just as feelings are important in rapid decision-making, so is empathy important to success in leadership. One CEO is quoted as saying, “if you really want to get the best out of people, you have to really hear them and they have to feel like they have been really heard.”
Not only must modern leaders listen, they also have to ensure that the speakers feel heard. But empathy alone does not make a leader. It has to be attached to honesty.
Research is revealing that the “empathy” that is needed by the successful leader is not just for individuals, but also for group dynamics. How does a group respond to a particular speaker promoting a particular program or project? What can the empathic leader learn as her/his associates vote for a project or veto it merely by the direction of their gazes or the expressions on their faces? The successful leader with empathy is in a much better situation than the non-empathic counterpart.