The Power of Empathy

February 7, 2014

Dr. Brené Brown, Ph. D. in the Power of Empathy (run time: 2:54) describes that what creates an authentic connection is feeling with (empathy).  In essence, it requires:

  1. Perspective taking – being able to manage one’s own thoughts and feelings so as to consider someone else’s perspective;
  2. Being non-judgemental – listening in a non-critical and supportive fashion;
  3. Recognizing Emotion in Other People – understanding another’s feelings; &
  4. Communicating – in order to authentically connect with others, one needs to initially relate to the feelings experienced by others and then genuinely convey that emotion.

It amounts to “feeling with” others as opposed to merely expressing one’s understanding of their feelings.

Empathy is a behaviour that is central to the practice of Servant Leadership (in addition to the characteristics of listening, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of others and community development).

Servant leadership emphasizes that leaders be attentive to the concerns of their followers, empathize with them, and nurture them.  Servant leaders put followers first, empower them, and help them develop their full personal capacities.  Furthermore, servant leaders… lead in ways that serve the greater good of the organization, community, and society at large.

Northouse, P. G. (2012). Leadership Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Inc.

RSA. (2013, December 10). RSA Shorts – The Power of Empathy . Retrieved from You Tube: