Empathetic managers make up only 40% of overall professionals


Photo by Lidia Muhamadeeva /

Among top managers, only about 40% show the characteristics of an empathetic leader who tries to understand, listen to and carefully answer employee questions, according to a report by the Warsaw Business Journal. 

International research has shown that it is one of the most important and weakest features of management. 

"According to research, empathy, along with the ability to build employee engagement, is a key feature of an effective manager. It is a skill that is difficult to count in Excel, but in the long term, it translates into employee involvement, appropriate planning and, as a result, may affect better company results, which is doubly important in difficult moments such as a pandemic," Paulina Łączek-Ciećwierz, President of the Management Board of Recruitment International Group (RICG), said.

One of the larger studies on empathy is a DDI study (Europe, Asia, USA, Australia), which involved 15,000 managers from 300 organizations and 18 countries. Personality traits, skills, and IQ levels were examined. The analysis took into account not only hard competencies but also eight soft skills, such as: initiating discussions, explaining, developing subordinates' ideas; approving actions to be taken; maintaining respect; listening and responding with empathy, building commitment, supporting while giving responsibility. Only 40% of managers showed strong empathy. The most common skill (77% of respondents) was initiating discussions/conversations.

"Empathy is often perceived wrongly as a weakness. In fact, it facilitates communication in a team, openly talking about risks or problems, helps in building trust, and reducing stress. Empathy is of course not the only and most important skill, but very important in combination with other characteristics of the best leaders They are people who listen and are attentive to the problems of employees. An empathetic boss can also be a leader with authority," Paulina Łączek-Ciećwierz added.

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