Over the past few years especially , leaders have been thrust into many new roles , feeling a heavy head from the number of hats they wear including counsellor, captain & metal health advocate. Often consumed by balancing the declining mental health of their employees in the wake of what the pandemic left behind, being sensitive to people’s anxieties & needs for psychological safety and often working in ways they never have before. In short, they are shouldering a massive emotional burden.

While empathy is important to harness for good leadership. Too much can be a negative, stifling leaders & weighing them down. So when we teach leaders that they don’t have to be emotionally engulfed by the difficulties of the people they lead to support them, this is a huge burden lifted off their shoulders.

Instead of being weighed down by empathy, leaders can learn to experience the uplifted experience of compassion. This is a massive positive shift in how leaders engage with their teams, that greatly benefits all sides. The first step is understanding the difference between empathy and compassion.

If a  a leader leads predominantly with empathy It can lead to indecisiveness & or poor critical decision making. Why you ask? Because empathy causes us to mirror & deeply feel the emotions of others, which can be extremely draining, shift our perspective make it near impossible to consider the greater good . Even with its many benefits, empathy can be a poor guide for leaders & can negatively distort judgement.

Avoiding the empathy trap & leading with compassion is key a skill for any growth mindset leader. By learning to use your empathy but avoid being emotionally hijacked is leadership mastery. Shifting from empathy does not make you less human it allows you the space to shift to the intention & drive of compassion  & makes you better equipped to support people during adverse or stressful situations.