Viewed through a gendered lens, the word ‘power’ takes on different dimensions. Power is most often associated with strength, which in turn is linked to physical prowess or financial might. When women talk about exerting power or flexing their collective might by coming together, the assumptions are different according to norms set by society. Women have led almost a third of the world’s countries and around the globe, women are gaining unprecedented power and an empathetic sense of leadership. Remember the empathetic leadership of Mother Teresa, Sarojini Naidu, Florence Nightingale, Helen Keller or your Mother.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, people across nations are in need of leaders who can lead them with compassion, transparency and plans by which they can live safely. Women leaders such as Jacinda Arden, Angela Merkel, and several others are leading decisively through well-thought responses to counter the pandemic. Presently, selfless acts of empathy, kindness and compassion for our fellow citizens are vital in countering fear, effects of sorrow, limiting suffering, protecting the vulnerable, and planning a recovery from the historic health crisis. These women strut their success, revel in their triumphs on the field and become role models for leaders across borders. Their soft leadership portrays a shining example of empathy.
Empathy, in the current world, is often counted as a rare skill but for women, it has always been an innate mindset. We don’t empathize consciously; we rather do it sub-consciously and quite naturally. Empathy, and our ability to connect with people regardless of their culture and background and to treat everyone with dignity and respect is our strength. A deeper understanding of the people who work to turn good ideas into reality goes a long way in boosting their confidence, improving productivity and creating a healthy work environment.
Over the last two decades of my experience in the communications industry, I have faced and witnessed several challenging situations, some complicated beyond repair. However, each situation taught me valuable lessons. These situations could only be solved by viewing them from an empathetic lens to understand the larger picture and how it impacts every stakeholder in the ecosystem.
We all know that Covid-19 is a stressful situation for global citizens and the situation is magnifying every day. As the scope of the pandemic becomes evident and our daily lives are increasingly altered, the absolute need for us is to act heroically with empathy, kindness, compassion and love. Leadership in the twenty-first century demands that men and women establish an emotional connection with their followers, friends, family and co-workers. As long as we have humans at work, they will crave validation, appreciation, and empathy. We are in great need of people being able to stand in somebody else’s shoes and see the world through their eyes. This results in understanding, insights and care.
Empathy means to understand and share the feelings of another. Feelings may be the bridge for sharing love, kindness, gifts, encouragement or simply to listen to a friend’s story! For a woman empathy is her shining armour. She is an Empathetic Leader at home, at work, in the society and among her friends. The time is now for women leaders to assert with empathy, evolve with alacrity and achieve for a greater cause beyond the immediate.