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Leading Empathy In Corporate Culture

An often overseen and trivialize quality of a truly effective leader is their ability to exemplify empathy in corporate culture.
There exists a new rise in demand of a great leader rather than just a good manager to create a good work culture and lead an organization on the path of success. Recent trends in leadership showcases the demand of empathy along with the high-driven zeal to work with the organization, for the organization and for self as well. Making empathy central to your company culture along with the performance-driven outlook is the new highlighter for job fit. But often the quality of great leaders that went overseen and trivialize is – empathy. Prominent leaders such as Naushad Forbes, Saugata Gupta, Bharat Puri, Pankaj Arora, and Shailesh Haribhakti stress on the Importance of Empathy in the Workplace and in leadership.

Hence, the question arises, how making empathy central to your company culture has to do with the exceptional leadership in success of any organizational goal.

Tech-firms makes up to 60% of the empathy index (an annual ranking of businesses on the basis of how empathetic they are), as per the reports of Empathy Index, 2016.

The list for top big MNCs ruling the market globally with effective empathy- Microsoft, Facebook, Tesla, Alphabet (Google), Procter & Gamble, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Walt Disney, Prudential Financial and Audi. (https://www.cornerstoneondemand.com/resources/article/10-companies-putting-empathy-action)

Nestle India Chairman Suresh Narayanan said:
“Leadership is all about being effective by being authentic, empathetic, empowering, inspiring, enabling and trusting. Empathy should be like air … Sadly, in our corporate world, being successful goes with arrogance, ruthlessness, greed, ego and hubris.”
In the era of rising job lay-offs, high-level managers, righteously stated great leaders, are looking for a new human skill in the employees, i.e., empathy along with required job skills. The new age trends in leadership demands empathy at all levels of the employment creating a positive workplace culture in any and almost every MNC today.

“Performance and empathy go together very nicely,”
said Naushad Forbes, co-chairman at Forbes Marshall.

“Empathy is a much sought-after soft skill today and the old adage of ‘crack the whip’ is becoming increasingly irrelevant,”
said Jyoti Bowen Nath, managing partner at executive search firm Claricent Partners.


CASE STUDY (The Importance of Empathy in the Workplace)

Rashmi in employee working for the XYZ Company. She is a senior executive of the company. Due to heavy workload, she works for 10-12 hours daily. The behavioural change was noticeable due to the burnout. Without even considering, she ordered that all the employees under her must work for the same amount of time. The burnout started showcasing effects on professional and personal front. Being a leader, you would not want your colleagues to follow this mantra and suffer and affect the quality of the productivity and hamper personal life as well. So, by being mindful and empathetic, the executive can inculcate the sense of being heard, valued, and understood in the corporate among the employees so they can emotionally resonate with each other at all designated levels.

How To Build Empathy To Create A Good Work Culture?

  • Individual attention
  • Being mindful
  • Listen to understand
  • Control your judgemental skills
  • Communication is the key creating a positive workplace culture
  • Focus on empowering act of kindness
  • Balance emotional and social expressiveness
  • Minimizing personal biases


As we move forward to 2024, the only certain thing existing in near future and present is abruptly ongoing uncertainty. Economic, political, health, and environmental disruptions make it challenging to predict exactly what to plan for or lead in which direction. We need to focus more on individual’s emotional balance. The success of any organization will be based on its ability to understand and serve the shifting needs of its customers, employees, and communities.

Enhancing The Senses: Leading The Art of Leadership

The 5 senses we hold introduces us to the world, how we perceive the world through these senses is what counts on to the value we create in our lives on our professional and personal level. As we navigate complex landscape of leadership, it is a skill that goes beyond intellectual processes involving deep meaningful connections, inspiring confidence, clarity and creativity. We all have the same sense organs yet we carry different perceptions, adding onto a perspective on enhancing the five senses let’s make a dive into the depth of leadership through the lens of a leader.

Seeing The Vision

We see things from our mental blocks of past. In the world of corporates, the past is just a reference and the present must be invested to forge new ways to impact the world.
With every sensory adaptation, thoughts start processing with it. In the context of eyes, when we see something, a picture is been created in our mind, our mind responds to the vision, how we respond to the vision is what makes a leader different from the crowd. Visual elements like colour, design, shape and physical surroundings have profound impact on mood, creativity and motivation and by diverting our focus to visual aspects, leaders can create great opportunities for the growth of the organisation
Example: an employee looking at the clock might think of the hours left to return home, while a leader looking at the clock might think of an idea to complete the task in the remaining time

Listening Beyond Ears

We usually hear sounds but how we interpret is the response to our listening skills. Listening is a great art if consciously used daily. Mindful listening breaks the limitation of mind, it helps in current interpretation of context in a manner that opens up the possibilities to understand the same thing from other people’s sensory adaptation. Mindful listening is a hallmark of impactful leadership, it can open the doorways to unheard ideas and feedback that leads to the culture of innovation

Harnessing The Power Of Smell

Smell is the most direct trigger of memory and emotion, it reminds you of your past experiences. In leadership, a leader must have the ability to smell the new opportunities, trends and threats way before it arrives in reality. If the leader is mindful about the smells around, he/she gains the insight of what’s coming next and remembers of what has been in the past in order to not repeat any mistake. Scents too can strategically promote a positive and energizing atmosphere, also by considering the olfactory experiences of their team members, leaders can ensure a comfortable and inclusive environment that promotes well-being and productivity

Leveraging The Sense Of Touch:

While touch may seem less relevant in the context of leadership but it truly encompasses not only about physical touch but also emotional and symbolic connect. We as leaders always hold the power to touch the lives of all our teammates and clients. An appropriate gesture that expresses the feeling of touch portrays the ability of the leader about his/her conscious practice of empathy that highlights care, bonding and growth within the organisation

Savouring Success:

A leader is someone who has the taste of failure and success, while integrating the sense of taste in the work place it is closely tied to the concept of shared experiences. Leaders use their sense of taste by creating accurate opportunities for the company whether in achieving a milestone, overcoming a challenge or reaching a goal that can be metaphorically celebrated and savoured within the team reinforcing a sense of achievement and unity

In the dynamic world of leadership, all the senses together play a very crucial role in enhancing productivity, innovation and growth. While unlocking the power of all individuals may leadership be a symphony of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste, a harmonious composition that resonates with the heart and mind of those who lead