Navigating a Leadership Role as an Empath
Navigating life as an empath can be tricky. You “feel” so much of other people’s problems, and can find it difficult to center your own needs and responsibilities.
Life as an empath is even tougher if you work in a leadership role. That’s because these roles require us to make difficult decisions, and part of being a leader is delivering upsetting news to people in a gracious but clear manner.
But empaths may actually be well suited to leadership roles — after all, you can connect with your peers better than most. So, here’s a short guide to help you leverage your empathetic nature while working in a leadership role.
Empaths in Leadership
Some folks believe people are born as leaders, while others feel that they are made by their environment. In reality, anyone can become a good leader if they dedicate themselves to the art of leadership, though some folks do become leaders more “naturally.”
The good news is, empaths often make great leaders. That’s because empaths resonate with the people that you serve and naturally care about their peers’ feelings, performance, and behavior. However, that alone doesn’t make you a great leader. Instead, you have to dedicate yourself to learning more about leadership.
The best way to learn more about leadership is to seek positive role models and learn from their examples. These examples will inspire you and will help guide your decision-making. As an empath, you’re in a great position to learn from other leaders in your field, as you’re already predisposed to understanding how a person feels and behaves.
So, the next time you have some time on your hands, pick up a book or listen to a leader that you are inspired by. This might be a sports coach, a CEO, a community organizer, or even a political speaker. Take notes, and see what you can learn from their example.
If you’re new to a leadership role, then you’re probably stressed about making a good first impression. This is understandable, as first meetings can leave a lasting impression. As a leader, you need to do everything you can to ensure that the impression you make is positive.
Making a good first impression is less about spontaneity and charisma, and more about preparation. To make a good first impression, you should ensure that you are wearing appropriate attire, prepare a few talking points in case the conversation falters, and should consider bringing a small gift to lighten the mood of a first meeting.
When you’re engaging with someone new, remember to make eye contact when they’re speaking, and try to read the room before making any sweeping gestures. You can also try to be mindful of your body language when making a first impression, as nonverbal cues like head nodding will help you connect with the other person.
Understand Your Responsibilities
Every personality type encounters difficulties and challenges that they must overcome to be effective leaders — empaths are no different. As an empath, you may find yourself agonizing over the feelings of every person in the room, and can easily lose sight of your actual responsibilities.
However, as a leader, you must spend much more time thinking about your job responsibilities, rather than why your co-worker didn’t wish you a “good morning” when they came in. This is difficult at first, but you must remember the folks you work with may have issues outside of work and they may not want to share them with you in the workplace.
As an empath, it may be your natural inclination to overburden folks who are going through a hard time with excessive support. But, you should resist the urge to overbear these people. So, while you should always check in on a coworker who seems “off,” you should consider backing off and leaving an open door policy if they choose not to share immediately. This will ensure that you respect their boundaries, and will give you time to focus on your own responsibilities.
Own Your Leadership Style
Everyone has their own leadership style, but the best leaders understand the value of context and work hard to make their leadership style suit that context. To achieve this, you need to embrace your personality and own your leadership style.
You can start owning your leadership style by being open about your leadership style. This will give you greater credibility in your organization, as everyone will appreciate your transparency. Additionally, you’ll run into fewer roadblocks, as the folks you serve will understand how your personality and style are affecting the way you communicate and lead.
Empaths are interesting people who are prone to all kinds of quirks, mannerisms, and challenges. However, it’s possible to leverage your empathetic nature to supercharge your leadership efforts and bolster the motivation of the people around you. To achieve this, you should invest time and energy into learning about leadership and should take care to ensure that your empathetic nature doesn’t get in the way of people and their work.