You gain greater buy-in the more you can step into the shoes of your customers or your employees and more readily feel what they feel.
That empathy then fuels a trust that triggers greater productivity and profitability over time.
But how do you teach empathy? You don’t.
Let others do it for you : like Generals in the U.S. Army (Colin Powell and Norm Schwarzkopf), political leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, Barack Obama and Lee Kuan Yew along with legendary sports heroes like pro football’s Vince Lombardi and professional golf’s Jack Nicklaus.
They share their secret to success: leading with empathy among the 77 Leadership Mints 5-minute stories in LOVING Like a Leader, one of the three books in the Leadership Mints Series designed to help busy leaders freshen their feeling for leading.
The four-star general in the United States Army –all 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds of him – was scared. Not on the battlefield. After all he led the US coalition of troops from 30 countries to victory in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. No, General Norman Schwarzkopf was even more scared of unarmed men who couldn’t or wouldn’t cry. “Frankly, any man who doesn’t cry scares me a little bit,” Schwarzkopf admitted to Barbara Walters on ABC television’s 20/20 program in March 1991. “I don’t think I would like a man who was incapable of enough emotion to get tears in his eyes every now and then. That person scares me; he’s not a human being.”
Here’s an idea to help you strengthen your emotional intelligence. Reading time: 3:52.
The four-star general –all 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds of him — was scared. Not of the battlefield.
After all he led the US coalition of troops from 30 countries to victory in the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
No General Norman Schwarzkopf was scared of even more than the demands of war when he became the first US general in 46 years to win a major war.
In fact he was scared of those armed and– even those UNARMED-who seemed less than human, especially when you looked them in the eye: They couldn’t or wouldn’t cry.
“Frankly, any man who doesn’t cry scares me a little bit,” Schwarzkopf admitted to Barbara Walters on ABC television’s 20/20 program in March 1991. “I don’t think I would like a man who was incapable of enough emotion to get tears in his eyes every now and then. That person scares me; he ‘s not a human being.”
Yes, generals cry, Schwarzkopf asserted. General Ulysses S. Grant cried when he learned of Lincoln’s death. General Eisenhower wiped away tears when he saw the planes take off on the eve of D-day knowing he could be sending most of them to their deaths. And the Commander-in-Chief, President Abraham Lincoln wept when he visited the injured soldiers during the Civil War.
The most effective leaders know that their tears–rooted in empathy and grounded in a well-developed emotional intelligence–are part and parcel of their humanity.
Leaders realize that expressing their humanity (crying) and connecting to the feelings and concerns of others (relationship building) is the crux of leadership.
In fact, a study at Penn State said tears in a man are a sign of honesty and another study reported in the Journal of Psychology of Men & Masculinity found that football players who cried had higher levels of self-esteem that gave them a competitive edge on and off the field. Continue reading “Crying Like a Leader”→