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Leadership? Do I have to care?

young woman in graduation robes

Scientists have proven that empathy is the key ingredient to improving human society.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s not just sympathizing by saying, “that’s too bad.” Empathy is stepping into another person’s shoes, it’s feeling what they feel.

Without empathy, society decays. People put self-interest above all else. Apathy and violence increases. Relationships disintegrate and isolation occurs. Top-down, commanding leadership rules the day.

You may think empathy is just ‘fluff,’ saved for the emotional types. It’s not. Empathy is the bedrock of a thriving society.

The way we’ve been teaching leadership is all wrong. Leadership isn’t about a set of character traits, personality or certain skills. Leadership is not a position. At the root of inspiring leadership, is empathy. Leadership requires the ability to see people as people, not objects. And to give generously of yourself to elevate the people around you.

We have a new term for this type leadership because we need to throw out the old baggage that comes with an old way of thinking and behaving. We call this way of being Generous Leadership®.

What is Generous Leadership®? I saw a poem the other day posted by Simon Sinek that paints a picture of exactly what we mean.

Leaders are the ones who run headfirst into the unknown.

They rush toward the danger.

They put their own interests aside to protect us or pull us into the future.

Leaders would sooner sacrifice what is theirs to save what is ours.

And they would never sacrifice what is ours to save what is theirs.

This is what it means to be a leader.

It means they choose to go first into danger, headfirst toward the unknown.

And when we feel sure they will keep us safe,

We will march behind them and work tirelessly to see their visions come to life

And proudly call ourselves their followers.