Reflection #4–Empathy 1. In the supplemental reading “Empathy: A True Leader Skill,” Garner (2009) discusses the concept of “tough empathy. ” Do you agree with the practice of “tough empathy”? In what situations would you find this technique effective? Please give examples. From the article, we could see that tough empathy is the ability to understand others with intense emotions and devoted to assist others to develop others by promoting a strong relationship among them. I would say that it would be beneficial if we could perform tough empathy.
Although, this skill is needed in every situation, tough empathy would likely play an important role while a team or an organization is having a critical situation. Moreover, when a team has a challenging situation with an intense pressure in organizational change or transition, this condition might affect to the members’ fear or anxiety of the future of the organization, and moreover, their employment status. Due to the dynamic situations in a team or organization, a leader should assure their followers that he will stand by them and able to make them feel comfortable and relax, instead of being put in an uncertain situation.
The article also describes that tough empathy is effective in managing people in a war and evacuation, which helps others to ease tension and assures them so they could perform firmly. We could also see the example of the emphatic leader in our daily work. For example, in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, work hours is one of problem for employees. It is due to the high load of traffic conjunction of the city, especially on Monday and Friday. It is undeniable because many of them are usually running late to their office even when they already off from their ome for three hours before the work begins.
It might be seen as a violation of disciplinary when an employee could not meet their work schedule. However, there is a manager in my office, who tried to solve this problem from the worker’s point of view. He tried to have the same experience of that particular employee in order to have a better understanding. After a certain time, the manager made a meeting to find the solution with employees and the human resource division.
They reached to a solution, which called a flexible work time. It allows workers who are late to add some extra hours in their working time based on the amount of the time that they are missing. The new regulation became popular and being adopted in other divisions. In this case, we could see that the manager has a strong empathy in understanding their workers problem instead of judging them. He tried to have the experience of the worker’s condition by doing it and tried to build dialogue to solve the problem.
This solution is effective and able to meet the workers’s need for a flexible work schedule as well as the organization’s need in maintaining their productivity. Another example is from a recent case about a governor who accused for insulting a major religious belief, Islam. Somehow, this case has become sensitive for the Indonesian unity. Moreover, the media, especially the social media has been worsening the condition for making it as daily headline news. Since it became viral, the society wanted the president to make some statements concerning this situation.
However, instead of making a comment about the case, Jokowi said that he would not protect the governor for his alleged blasphemy or even take a side. Nevertheless, he reminded us that even we have differences; historically, we come from one nation from diverse ethnic, religion, and background; and many countries appreciated our harmony in diversity. We could see that instead of focusing on the problem, as a leader with empathy, he tried to make our people feeling calm and reminded us that we have this diversity as our identity.
Therefore, people could have positive attitudes toward the issue and try to have a constructive solution, rather than worsening the situation. 2. In your own words, how do you define empathy in the context of leadership? Do you believe a leader can be effective in building diverse relationships without developing empathy? Why or why not? How can you strengthen your ability to be an empathetic leader? Empathy in leadership context is the ability in exploring situations, aspiring others, and understanding others’ way of thinking and feeling.
It also related to a leader’s skill of building an emotional connection with his members. With the empathy, the leader could give a calm and peaceful mind to his followers because they have sensitivity in what is needed by them. Therefore, it shows that a leader has a role that try to serve and facilitate their followers’ needs so they can reach their optimal performance in the team or in the organization. I believe that in developing diverse relationships, a leader should also need to enhance his empathy.
While communicating and building relationships with various people, a leader should consider their own uniqueness and different backgrounds and he needs to be able to incorporate their perspective into his way of thinking. Therefore, by allowing himself in such condition, he could promote a strong relationship and direct his followers with an effective leadership. In order to be an empathetic leader, we need to develop our awareness and sensitivity of surrounding and other people. First, we should create an open climate that supports an open and constructive communication situation.
As a leader, we have to allocate time to discuss with subordinates and get to know them, so we could understand them personally and more than just subordinates. Sharing knowledge and skills as well as helping them to achieve useful thoughts and ideas are also seen as beneficial to promote an open climate. Furthermore, we need to express our empathy while interact with others. We need to show patience in listening to their opinions, arguments, or objections. In the article, we could learn that this empathic listening is a way to see what they see and to feel what they feel.
In addition, we need to select words and phrases that do not offend their dignity and self-confidence, and also maintain a positive body language to avoid negative impression while we are giving them a feedback. The empathic behaviors are needed to support our communication while providing motivation and ability to work, counseling and training. Activities including giving them spirit and appreciation of their achievement, respecting differences of opinion, and giving firm but fair for disciplinary action, also help us to establish our empathy in leadership.
Although it might seem difficult and need time to grow for us to have a strong empathy, we could try to build this skill by continuously learning and practicing in our daily activities. 3. According to the article by Covey, how is trust related to the different levels of communication? How can you maximize win-win relationships with diverse populations? Describe how synergy can impact diverse collaborative partnerships and/or diversity among teams. From the article, we could see that trust holds an essential role in every level of communication.
A lower-trust situation only produces defensive communication, which is resulting the lowest performance of a team; a win/lose or lose/win condition. Since members have lower in trust, the environment seems manipulative and protective to each other. As the trust becomes apparent, the communication set in the middle level that shows a respectful communication. In this situation, members respect one another, but they tend to withdraw from interactions, which could promote conflicts among them. Therefore, they express politeness in communication without empathy. Moreover, this condition shows a development in building trust.
Although they have not yet reached synergy, they start to compromise and feel interdependent in the group. In the highest trust situation, people have synergy among them. It is a win/win situation, where they could produce more than they could as an individual, and even more than a combination of individuals’ outcomes. In addition, they feel truly enjoy the communication and collaboration that produce high productivity and satisfaction. As a result, we could see that trust could bring an open climate, which supports openness in communication and promotes a higher productivity and satisfaction.
The win-win relationships when people reached a synergistic and positive communication climate, which shows a high level of trust and cooperation among the members. Dialogue in understanding each other differences would be beneficial to promote open communication. While in dialogue, we also need to listen with empathy and seek for understanding rather than to solve the problem. Therefore, we could identify others’ perspective and we could try to find possible options that could facilitate all of others’ skills and use their full potential by taking into account all of the values and concerns in solving the problem.
In the article, we could see that synergy could give positive impacts on collaboration among diverse teams. When they have the synergy, they become interdependent because they realize that they need others’ skills, views, opinions, and arguments. The synergy motivates people in the team to acknowledge and respect others’ values so they could have a sincere and full commitment in analyzing and problem solving. Therefore, we could reach a cohesive and dynamic teamwork in creating a comprehensive solution or decision-making.