You might be over-empathizing with your staff

Posted on Thursday, August 23, 2018 by Jessica Salerno

Emotional intelligence is a critical component to be a successful leader in today’s business environment. But while many advice articles are focused on how to develop stronger emotional intelligence, what happens when the pendulum swings too far the other way? Specifically, when you over empathize with your staff and it starts to have a negative effect on productivity and results?

“… Leaders who balance their competency in empathy with emotional self-control excel at giving constructive feedback,” writes Daniel Goleman. “These leaders also foster norms around honest communication, yielding teams that openly address problems and create goal-oriented solutions.”

It’s important to be a leader who understands mistakes occasionally occur and sometimes life gets in the way of work, but constantly making excuses for your team’s lackluster performance isn’t going to help anyone in the long run. You still have business goals to meet, and there will be situations when you need to give tough feedback or make a difficult decision.

And although it might seem easier to ignore these issues, they can have a way of getting worse the more they go unaddressed. You want to be a leader who can empathize with your people while also knowing when to make the hard decisions. Those leaders are not only respected and appreciated by their team, but also improve the bottom line.  

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