The Brain Summit is live from New York City for Day 2 and we couldn’t be more excited to have Allison Fass @alliefass from Inc. Magazine giving us what we absolutely need to be thinking about as business and talent leaders. We’ll give you the whole rundown on the 7 trends that you should be paying attention to and WHY later on today.
But I want to focus on her first point and business trend…which is the importance of empathy in leadership. Our CEO Dr. Geil Browning wrote about this topic and how important empathy and relational thinking (Social) is to great leadership. Allison echoes this focus but takes it to a new level with recent data and research that points to the idea that empathy can expand to an ever further reaching spectrum.
She pointed to seven key characteristics that Inc. studied which highlighted successful leadership. I’m talking about leadership that was successful on a results level as well as on a perception level. This article anchored part of Allison’s talk and outlined new trends in leadership—all of which point to empathic leadership as a greater focal point in today’s business environment. What this article and Allison both focused on was how, interestingly, many of these more empathic traits were traditionally thought of as “female” or feminine.
But again, the data proves the effectiveness of this kind of approach. Respondents from societies that value “feminine” traits in their leaders were more likely to be thriving according to a study from Swedish researcher cited in this article.
But it’s the next sentence that I think highlights this point even more fully. Inc.com author Leigh Buchanan states: In the new order of collaborative leadership and team-based everything, the bias is toward soliciting more, and more diverse, perspectives. Employees, needless to say, are down with that.
This sentence epitomizes the nature of the dynamic, changing workplace. Diversity no longer means the same thing it once did in the workplace. Cognitive diversity and the idea of a full spectrum of thinking and behavior is no longer an anomaly—team collaboration and the ability to harness differences is what employees are looking for.
And these traits of great AND empathic leadership are the core of creating a collaborative environment—empathy, vulnerability, generosity, balance, patience, humility, inclusiveness. You can call these feminine or call them empathic, but truly they are what leadership in a collaborative workplace are built on.
More importantly, this is the kind of leadership that is driving business results.