What would your guess be? What do you think that quality might be? To be organized, vision-oriented, profit motivated, generous with bonuses? Maybe authoritative, consistent, bold, good listener?
According to a recent study, 68% of people surveyed said the quality they most desired to see in their leaders, which was predominantly missing, was the ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes.
Empathy. One of the five attributes of Emotional Intelligence. It isn’t compassion, which resonates with pity, it isn’t sympathy, which resonates with victimhood and sadness, but empathy. The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. See from their perspective. What a gift to be able to do that.
We all have our own personal filters and that is how we frame the world, but to be able to put on someone else’s filters and see how they see, we are allowed into their world of decision making, of motivation, of compelling fears, attachments, hopes and strengths. We have an insight into how to best serve them (which is what a Servant Leader should be doing) and how to best utilize their talents and attributes as well as how best to assist their growth and ultimately, their flourishing in your company under your leadership.
How do you do that? It is as simple as choosing to. Imagine you have a pair of Ralph Lauren glasses on. Take them off and put on the Maui Jim’s of your employee. Or the pink rhinestone ones . Ask questions, be curious, don’t assume, listen, manage your own emotions and set them on the back burner while you explore others with genuine interest. And without judgment, put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Not only will the world look different, and you raise your emotional intelligence level, but you might just learn something yourself too!