Why Empathy Is Critical in Societal Impact Leaders
- An inherent part of responsible leadership is understanding that organizations exist to serve the people in society--not only to generate profit.
- Compassion in business leaders is crucial for engendering trust and creating a culture where people can thrive.
- Empathy reinforces employees' connection to the organization's purpose.
Simon Hayward: [0:13] The main traits of a responsible leader, I think, boil down to two things. One is a mindset of understanding that the organization is part of a society, and has a responsibility to that society, to make a positive contribution. It's shifting away from a profit-only mindset, and taking a much broader view of the organization's responsibilities.
The thing about empathy in business is that empathy engenders trust, and trust is a currency of business.
[0:36] Then, secondly, developing a level of empathy, and emotional intelligence, to engage people with that, and also to recognize that the people in the communities in which they operate are also stakeholders in that organization, and have a right to have some influence over the decisions the organization makes.
Austin Okere: [0:55] The thing about empathy in business is that empathy engenders trust, and trust is a currency of business. Trust is a currency of brand. When we look at bringing empathy or compassion into business, it does three things.
[1:20] One, it makes us in touch with the environment, the community in which we're doing the business. It puts us also in touch with the customers. It puts us in touch with regulators, to say that we understand the challenges that are faced by the immediate environment of our business, but also the wider impacts.
Jeffrey Hollender: [1:47] The companies that are going to succeed in the future are the companies that have a clear purpose, companies that solve problems rather than create them. Increasing our health and well-being is critical. We think about natural resources, and the way we need to preserve them.
It's important to have empathy, because that is where we can win the trust of people and create a culture where they can triumph, and leadership that inspires them.
[2:05] We need to do the same thing with human resources. We don't need just to preserve our human resources, but we need to build them. We need to ensure that our employees and our stakeholders become the most that they can possibly be. We can't do that without focusing on their health and well-being.
Okere: [2:25] It's also important that we are compassionate with the leaders that are running the business. Not just to demand performance at all costs, but to engender trust from them in the organization, to say, "I matter. I'm not just a number on the ledger." It's important when I'm doing well, and all of a sudden there is a shift, to understand what may be going on with me.
[2:55] It's important to have empathy, because that is where we can win the trust of people and create a culture where they can triumph, and leadership that inspires them, and most importantly, reinforce their connection to a purpose.