A business magazine, along with an Institute of Leadership and Management, carried out a survey of 2400 managers and 2600 non managers to determine how much trust employees have in the leaders who run their organizations. In what should certainly be an encouraging sign for both leaders and their organizations, 47% of those surveyed felt that leaders had done a good job managing their companies. Things get more interesting here, when they compared the trust levels attained by male and female leaders. Female leaders rated higher trust levels than male leaders. The survey also found that male employees have a greater level of trust in female leaders than those who work for male leaders. In fact, the level of trust for female leaders was especially high among men who work in non-managerial roles within their organization. To #ind out that why the trust levels are high for female leaders over male leaders, the data was reviewed and the report was zeroed down to only one word.
When my daughter comes home from school, she runs up to me and gives me a big hug, I could either respond with ‘What is happening?’ Or ‘You seem so excited and happy!’ The #irst response is #ine, but is not an example of empathy. The second response shows that I have noticed my daughter’s emotion and am focused on her feelings. This is empathy !
Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to the emotions, thoughts or experience of others. Empathy is more than simple sympathy, which is being able to understand and support others with compassion or sensitivity. In simple words, empathy is the ability to step into someone else’s shoes, be aware of their feelings and understand their needs. To respond with empathy, you describe the other person’s feelings, as you understand them. It does not matter if you are exactly correct. What is important is that you are listening and re#lecting your observations. This simple communication tool not only makes people feel better, it helps you become a better leader.
In the above mentioned survey the key reason why female leaders win high trust levels is because they are knowledgeable ‘of what their employees have to compete with in their day to day lives’. The fact that female leaders are aware of their feelings and understood what hardships their employees are going through which further leads to a greater sense of trust between employees and their leader. A leader bonds emotionally.
A good leader should have the ability to motivate. Motivation comes when you touch the emotions of the people, thus the importance of emotions in a leader cannot be ignored. Emotions and empathy comes naturally to women and research has proved that they have a unique style of leading. Its called ‘empowering leadership’ which is based on the abilities that a woman is gifted with, best described as feminine qualities like being caring, nurturing, deeply emotional & empathetic and most importantly being more open to discussions while decision making rather than dictatorial, which is greatly admired, which further leads to bonding and transparency in organizations.
According to Indra Nooyi - Chief Executive Of#icer of PepsiCo, the most important characteristic that should be present in a leader is emotional intelligence. As per her, if you do not understand the emotional state of your people and treat them accordingly, in no time they will say goodbye to your organization. The only way you can hold your employee is by hooking them emotionally to the company. Indra Nooyi is one of the most admired leaders. This is because she touches the emotions of her employees. She makes them feel that she values them as a person and not as “employee number 7654”. She makes them aware of the fact that she understands that they have a life beyond PepsiCo.
Successful Indian women leaders have managed to bring a balance in expressing their emotions and have developed the capability to handle others emotions effectively as well. They have reached to top positions by dexterously balancing home, family and career in the best possible way. Women are usually ‘more compassionate, have better listening ability and are more intuitive as to how others are feeling. They are emotionally intelligent leaders who know how to inspire, stimulate passion and keep people motivated and committed. They are aware of their own communication and how their style and behavior affects other people’s moods and performance. They practice what they preach and are transparent and honest. They are able to generate vigor and optimism and give people a sense of clarity and direction even in times of crisis.
The Herbal Beauty Queen - Shahnaz Husain has gone out of her way to show her emotions & empathy towards the less privileged and the physically handicapped, through Shamute and Shasight, free beauty training courses for the deaf and mute as well as the visually challenged. The training has helped provide career opportunities to such physically challenged students. Courses are free of charge. At the end of the course, students receive the Shahnaz Husain Beauty Diploma. This gives them an opportunity to #ind jobs in other beauty salons or work for a Shahnaz Husain salon.
History is full of women leaders who have touched the heart of many people by giving them emotional support and security. But this does not have to be at the expense of results. They should have empathy towards people, but at the same time they need to produce the results. There needs to be a balance. Remember that people are not machines. They feel as well as produce. An empathic leadership style can make everyone feel like a team and increase productivity, morale and loyalty.
Thumbs up for all the women who have transformed themselves from being emotional to ‘emotionally intelligent.’ Kudos to the lovely ladies like Shahnaz Husain, Meenal Arora, Tanya Dubash, Bachendri Pal & Sulajja Firodia Motwani who have not only made it in a man’s world but are leaping one step ahead by successfully attaining the most powerful weapon – the 2 ‘E’s (in L-E-AD-E-R) Empathy & Emotions, and that’s what makes them the Real Power Women!!