The entrepreneurial community is at the forefront of a shift in mindset that emphasizes a more human-centered approach to business. While big businesses, in many respects, remains entrenched in a more mechanistic approach, entrepreneurs are unlocking value by focusing greater attention on the art of empathetic management; putting people across multiple stakeholder groups at the center of value creation.
Empathy has crept into a primary role in entrepreneurial literature for good reason. Empathy is generally understood to be an individual’s ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. An individual then, through effective empathy, develops feelings and sensations in response, leading to action that incorporates the perspective of others. Given the closeness of the entrepreneur to his or her stakeholders (customers, employees and shareholders) it is no wonder that people and thus empathetic management feature so prominently in the success of the entrepreneur.
What I believe is sometimes lost in the conversation around the role of empathy in business is when empathy can get in the way of what needs to be done. An entrepreneur sensitive to their environment and their people employs empathy when and as necessary. Striking the right balance isn’t easy, but can pay off by creating the right level of engagement across stakeholders and situations.
For those looking to employ empathetic management, here are three ways that empathy can help and hinder your business.
Empathy is a powerful skill for entrepreneurs to employ in their businesses as it can have major positive and negative impacts on performance. Managing the use of empathy, and striking the right balance is the key to ensuring that your business remains appropriately people-centric and thus sustainable over the longer term.
Written By: Sabine Ghali, Director at Buttonwood Property Management and an entrepreneur at heart who endeavors to help investors create real estate wealth over time in the Greater Toronto Area. Visit her at www.buttonwood.ca