Empathy and Compassion: People Management Series 3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As a leader working with teams, it is important to understand Empathy and Compassion. Understanding this concepts applied to People Management will help you improve your employees' performance, your clients' satisfaction and the company's organizational culture development. Want to know more? Keep reading the third of a series of tips on how to become a better people manager.


It is your job, we will have a meeting at 8:00 am because it is within your working hours, someone else can take your child to school.

I heard this from a friend, a single parent, who was told this at a remote, purpose-driven company.

It does not surprise me, I have had many leaders who obtained their positions by friendship, luck or good performance in the previous position, but who do not have training and awareness in handling people.

Defining Scope

Since time immemorial (Moses, Abraham) this kind of leadership has been shown. They showed concern for the people they led not only by listening to them but also by giving importance to what they said, willing to sacrifice anything for them.

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

Compassion is the perception and understanding of the suffering of others as well as the desire and action to alleviate, reduce or eliminate the painful situation.


As I mentioned before, empathy and compassion are the key to success, especially for a leader.

Leaders need to be able to step back from their position and understand what their subordinates and their clients are going through to meet their needs.

It is then, that leaders should strive for these attitudes to exist within the work area as this will lead to:

  • their subordinates having a better performance
  • their clients having a better experience and greater satisfaction
  • having an improved work culture in general

I already said it at the beginning, it is “understandable” that a leader does not manage to scale the situation correctly, it is most likely that they lack training in these areas since not all of us are born knowing.

The consequences of being intransigent commonly cause friction, problems, and discomfort in the teams we manage, which consequently leads to poor performance, dissatisfaction, and most likely job abandonment.

Just think about this:

MY problems are the most serious for ME even though they seem tiny compared to yours.

My context and yours are different.

Empathy and Compassion for Employees

The corporate culture has changed from an autocratic administration to a more collaborative and democratic one.

The result is that employees are more engaged and motivated than before.
There are many ways leaders can show empathy and compassion towards their team members:

  • Actively hear them out
  • Create positive work environments
  • Give support
  • Give adequate feedback
  • Offer training and education resources
  • Take care of their well-being, such as health or free time
  • Take care of the balance between life and work

But the most important thing would be making decisions together. Let us remember that a leader exists by and for people; that is, if there were no aspirations or needs of people, there would be no reason for people to help us obtain them.

A question to always keep in mind is:

Why is my employee my employee?

Empathy and Compassion for Clients

It is necessary to understand that customers are not only looking for products and services, but companies to identify themselves with. As an employee, they want to feel cared for, understood, and respected.

It is therefore important to create a connection with our clients to be successful. Empathy and compassion not only help the customer, they also generate a better business.

As with employees, you must be clear at all times:

Why is my client my client?


The question they always ask me is:

How do you manage to be empathetic? How do you learn to be compassionate?

It's very simple: talking

I could answer: knowing each other better, making strong ties, spending time together, etc. However, these are still abstract ideas, furthermore, we are not always in the same geographical area to spend time together.

The most practical way is to talk; discuss in the channel of the service that you use, maybe have some video calls, whatever, but talking and sharing ideas brings us closer and makes us know the context of the other person: we become a family.

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