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The Role Of Empathy In Inclusive Leadership

Empathy and kindness underpin human interaction. It is important we recognise these are necessary values to develop to positively contribute to the world. Being kind and respectful to ourselves and others help to generate an environment promoting worth. We need to approach this journey from a position of empowerment, as opposed to one of threat or fear. How can we build and utilise these positive principles into leadership? This is what we will explore here.

When given opportunities to step up to the plate - we want someone cheering in our corner. That is the power of community and what I fear is getting lost in the digital world. Alongside the western ideology that promotes individual gain, we have the danger of becoming blinkered to our surroundings and the people in them. If we experience a lack of support, do we feel empowered, supported and valued? What do we do when we are a bystander to this experience? Are we strong enough to go against the grain, challenge bias and stray away from the herd? Do we realise our actions impact others? We have a finite amount of time and how we use it is up to us. In our busy lives do we give due process towards how we treat people in society? We can pursue all sorts of ventures but we need other people to guide and teach and share our lives with because we are social creatures. Here’s where the two tools empathy and kindness come into play.

What is empathy and why it is important? Empathy is the ability to put yourself in one another’s shoes. It is a vital part of the process to becoming a good leader, not least as an investment tool, if we allow it to be. We can use empathy to understand others to adapt our behaviours and attitudes to become more inclusive. Enhancing our abilities to see other perspectives can be advantageous in various ways. Maintaining respect and curiosity further empowers people to demonstrate true diversity of thought. Kindness goes hand in hand with empathy, each one hold the other one up. Being kind is an extension of worthiness we can choose to employ, both to ourselves and others.

Active engagement is an example of the direct application of empathy when utilised as a tool. In day to day conversation we naturally bias towards our own thoughts and successfully getting them out there. This can often cost us the attention needed to actively listen to the other side of the conversation. We become empowered through active engagement. This requires two things: Firstly, utilising open-questions and secondly, active listening with time for mindful reflection. Examples include: how we work best, how we best learn and prefer to communicate. These are skills we can develop and hone that can potentially become hugely powerful tools to open up the forum to allow us to reap the benefits of innovation through diversity.

Everyone is unique, so why do we still apply archaic inflexible concrete structures across the board that if we look into it, no longer work? Why do we try to fit a square peg into a round hole? The answer in a nutshell, if the mould doesn’t fit – change the mould. It is important to remember to keep this dialogue open because preferences and circumstances change - it is ever evolving cycle. When flexible processes and methods are put into play we maximise our assets, empowered to play to our strengths. An inclusive leader empowers and encourages others to succeed in their own way.

A good leader is mindful and takes care to respond and not react. A good leader will aim to educate, not berate. We can all be good leaders – we don’t always need a title to define us. We can all realise potential in people, recognise and accommodate the needs necessary to support required to enable and empower each other to thrive. We can all raise the platform for everyone to shine, support and navigate the eps and troughs together. When we all encourage and develop inclusive mindsets and learn to embrace the power of difference, we will realise the true wonder of diversity.

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