Food for Thought: Are You An Empathetic Leader?

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with CloseMyDeal, LLC Commercial TC Services

"The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own." ―Simon Sinek, Author of "Leaders Eat Last."

Empathy is understanding what other people are thinking and feeling. Empathy helps us connect and behave positively toward each other in human relations. It is also the foundation of our commitment to justice and can help us be heroic or selfless when we see others in need.

In our world, which is evolving with technology, we must show empathy when communicating with others. We rely on technology which can sometimes disengage us from the surrounding people. Our dependence on technology can create an atmosphere of gratification and disconnection that denies us the critical opportunity to understand another's perspective.

An essential characteristic for successful leaders in every generation remains unwavering trust—something only attainable through genuine connection rooted in fundamental understanding and compassion—qualities imparted by genuine empathy.

In business, leadership often measures success and profits. But what if leadership is measured by how much empathy a leader shows? According to author Simon Sinek, this should be the case.

Sinek also claims that genuine leaders are the persons who go first. Leaders don't accept change; they charge ahead with it. Leadership isn't about avoiding risks but embracing them—even when there's no guarantee of victory.

By showing empathy towards our colleagues, we create an environment of collaboration instead of competition.

Instead of worrying about what our competitors are doing, we work together to develop goals we can achieve. We should not compare our success to that of our competitors.

Instead, we are creating our definition of success, where satisfaction comes from advancing and achieving our goals.

How can we show empathy in our work lives?

When we act polite and respectful towards others, they usually respond in kind—creating a noble rhythm of appreciation for each other in the community. Especially during harsh times, generosity and kindness are significant and show that we have strong character.

The result is a powerful bond of mutual benevolence that expands warmth around us, deepening personal connections and ensuring success in any workplace environment.

When we think about what is best for the people we work with, our clients, and our loved ones instead of ourselves, we create a better world for everyone. We differ when we show kindness and understanding.

Genuine leaders must have the courage to blaze their trail and set an example for others. 

So, how will you practice empathy?

Comments (30)

Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Aura,
Very thought-provoking post. I could write a blog post of a response regarding our leaders, but I won't because it would go political and not in a good way.

Regarding work, I was an empathetic agent, and that's why I was an effective negotiator. I could see the transaction from ALL perspectives. I also preferred to do offers in person for that relationship connection he talks about in the video.  Agents got to the point they wanted all offers Fax'd or emailed. I always preferred in-person when they allowed it.

Jan 18, 2023 07:37 AM
Aura Alex

Carol Williams 

I understand; the alternative for me not to think about politics is Netflix!

I don't believe "you WERE an empathetic agent," I believe you ARE an empathetic Leader and Friend, Carol!!! This statement is not open for "negotiation." LOL!!

I did very few offers representing buyers. I spent most licensed years working with RE investors, listing and buying investment properties for myself and two investor partners. I remember how sellers were desperate to sell their distressed homes. Most of our offers were presented in person. 

I agree with you that face-to-face interaction, especially in an uncomfortable situation, helps ease anxiety and clarify our intentions (which usually were misinterpreted). 

I'll check in with you via email later tonight. Enjoy your day!

Jan 18, 2023 11:24 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ
602-380-4886

Loved the video!  You either are a leader or your not.  In the Leadership seminars I coached and taught for many years we taught -  be the leader of you in all ways.  Always. If it's to be it's up to me!  And part of  being a leader is being  an effective listener and really REALLY 'hearing' what people are saying. In fact I'll never forget that course I took while getting a communications degree.  Good stuff at that young age.

 

I had to smile at Myrl Jeffcoat comment about what the monks said.  I met a awesome monk up in Aspen while in my twenties.  He gave such amazing talks.  One thing he said to us was in an happy upbeat light hearted way  was 'Lightened Up You Worthless Slug"!!!  All my friends and I for years used that with each other if we ever needed to 'lighten up'!  Still cracks me up to this day! 

Great post Aura - Featured in BananaTude!

 

Jan 18, 2023 09:44 AM
Aura Alex

Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker 

First, thank you for the feature in your famous group.

Second, as always, I am grateful to have met you, the true all-around leader!!! Anna, A leader who leads by example!

Last, the slug story reminds me of when I was five or six years old (I don't remember, but my older brother told me the story).

I asked my father how to keep slugs away from basil plants. He responded, "well, I pour beer around the container which the basil pot is sitting on; this way, the slug would have to swim through the liquid to get to the basil, and they will drown."

I asked again, "why beer?" He said the scent of beer attracted slugs as its food. So, I concluded that the slugs that can't make it and drown would "die happy?" I remember my father smiled and patted my head, reminding me it was time to go inside to help with dinner! 

I would ask the monk -- So, slugging around is not so bad, is it? As long as you're happy! 🙃 😊

Jan 18, 2023 11:44 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker

That is an awesome slug story Aura!  Love it!  Much along the lines of the happy Monk I knew in Aspen!  Thank you for your kind words!  And it really is all so easy, isn't it if we simply lighten up.

Jan 18, 2023 01:47 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Great post on this topic. I just had a conversation with one of our elected female officials today and rather than listen, she went immediately into defense mode.

Jan 18, 2023 06:15 PM
Aura Alex

Dr. Paula McDonald - she must know what was coming. I hope you were able to get things resolved positively based on your experience. 😀

Jan 18, 2023 10:21 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Where is the old saying that that’s why we were given two ears and only one mouth\

Jan 18, 2023 10:40 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I meant to say because we need to listen twice as much as we talk m:) That’s some real wisdom right there’

Jan 18, 2023 10:42 PM
Aura Alex

I know what you meant Laura Cerrano. It's not easy for some, but it works for many. Wise words!

Jan 19, 2023 08:26 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Sorry about any technical difficulties. The site seems to do that now and again. But no worries, you get the gist of knowing me and how I am

Jan 18, 2023 10:44 PM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

It is said that one  is an excellent conversationalist if they are a good listener ..............

Jan 19, 2023 06:53 AM
Aura Alex

I love your phrase..it's true. If one is doing all the listening, one is the last to speak, you bet that one knows how to respond. 

Thank you, Michael J. Perry.

Jan 19, 2023 07:31 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I have an overwhelming amount of empathy.  I'm a fabulous, active listener and I know those skills I was just born with have helped me be a successful broker.

Jan 19, 2023 07:23 AM
Aura Alex

The more empathy you have and practice, the more successful you become in any profession; Tammy Lankford, thank you for your comment. I wish you continued success!

Jan 19, 2023 07:34 PM
Scott Schulte
Scott Schulte LLC - Phoenix, AZ

I have two teenage boys that are athletes and bring their friends over all the time.  We have to eat the last out of the first serving, or we don't eat. 

Jan 19, 2023 08:13 AM
Aura Alex

Scott Schulte 

They are growing boys and will continue to grow at an alarming speed. Do they drink milk out of the carton? LOL!!

Jan 19, 2023 07:37 PM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

Empathy,  I think it is important that we all have some of that.  

 

Jan 19, 2023 08:35 AM
Aura Alex

Yes, indeed, Ginger Harper, the more the better!

Jan 19, 2023 07:37 PM
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

Growing up in the corporate world when women had to fight for every inch, I don't remember much empathy.  I do remember many kindnesses, both given and taken. Nowadays, I'm very goal oriented, and I often expect too much of those I'm involved with on a business level. Real estate is the perfect profession for me, because it demands perfection in execution of a transaction.

Jan 19, 2023 09:37 AM
Aura Alex

Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® 

I appreciate you sharing your experience. Thank you.

I remember when I had to fight for every inch of being an Asian woman in the man's world, and I took what I thought was good and left the rest to start my business.

I understand your experience. Real estate is an excellent profession for many, but not for everyone.

Jan 19, 2023 07:54 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Aura, for sharing your experience and your advice.

Jan 20, 2023 07:14 AM
Aura Alex

Thank you, Roy Kelley.

I plan to start my side project on Facebook by the first of February. I will connect with you on FB soon. Thanks again.

Jan 20, 2023 11:44 AM
Roy Kelley

I look forward to connecting with you on Facebook where we have a much larger audience. 

Jan 20, 2023 01:20 PM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Great post and video.  A wealth of information.  My entire lifestyle -- work and personal has been based on empathy and caring for those around me.  Treating them as I would want to be treated.  I have always made it a point to let the person I am conversing with know I think highly of them and it has brought me many friendships for which I am grateful.  Thank you for this blog Aura Alex 

Jan 20, 2023 08:13 AM
Aura Alex

I admire your beautiful thought, Diana Dahlberg

"Treating them as I would want to be treated" -- simple and clear as a bell!!

Thank you for being here and sharing. 

Jan 20, 2023 11:51 AM
Aura Alex

💛 Diana Dahlberg 

Jan 21, 2023 12:43 PM
Diana Dahlberg

Aura Alex You are very welcome!  I enjoy being here!   Thank YOU!

Jan 21, 2023 11:18 AM
Matt Brady
Watermark Capital - Del Mar, CA
One of San Diego's Best Lenders

Learning to listen effectively is the lesson most leaders need to learn, which will allow them to respond with empathy. Great post!

Jan 20, 2023 08:27 AM
Aura Alex

Hi, Matt Brady.

It's a must-skill for leaders. I wish our political leaders really pay attention and practice and not just "talk."

Jan 20, 2023 11:55 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Aura, real estate can be VERY stressful, and we have to care about our clients' feelings and be sure to act on it.

Jan 20, 2023 02:06 PM
Aura Alex

Absolutely, Joan Cox. It appears you're doing a great job of that!

Jan 20, 2023 07:46 PM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA
Realtor

I think it is very important to be an empathetic leader.  I do think the extremes on either side can be problematic.  I think it is possible to be not empathetic enough or too empathetic.  It is an art form to find the right level.  There is a good chance that I am still learning.

Jan 21, 2023 10:13 AM
Aura Alex

Ray Henson 

There is a good chance I am still learning too and almost everyone I have worked with. It's one of those things "you'll never stop learning."

It's a skill, yes, there are courses or training for knowledge, but it takes practice and belief to continue. 

Jan 21, 2023 12:33 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Aura:

Your post started off with a great quote and just got better from there, with some valuable lessons for all of us...in business and in life. I really liked the video and his message.

I've met a number of leaders who were very empathetic, while others didn't have a clue and never will.

Jeff

 

Jan 21, 2023 05:35 PM
Aura Alex

Jeff Dowler, CRS 

You must be referring to someone in the corporate world in your second paragraph. I agree some didn't have a clue and never would be empathetic leaders.

Real estate is a perfect profession for someone with empathetic qualities!

Jan 21, 2023 10:39 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Sunday morning, Aura.

Have a great day and an outstanding week.

Jan 22, 2023 10:28 AM
Aura Alex

Hi, Roy Kelley. It's good to see you this morning.

I hope all is better at home.

Jan 22, 2023 10:38 AM
Roy Kelley

I visited Dolores this morning. She is anxious to be able to walk and get out of the rehabilitation facility.

Jan 22, 2023 10:44 AM
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

Empathy is slowly eroding with zoom calls and ways to avoid in person contact

Jan 23, 2023 03:36 AM
Aura Alex

I hope not, Edward Gilmartin. Although I agree that personal contact is good, Zoom should be bringing people closer when distance becomes obstacle.

Jan 23, 2023 07:46 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Aura Alex  what an awesome post too bad I missed it... just getting here and I read Wayne Martin  comment, had to smile.... there is an old saying Where Sympathy is in the dictionary.... well if you did not it is between the S.... aka pool and the venereal disease sy....,,,, so with that said I guess I was never an empathetic leader:)Endre

Jan 25, 2023 10:39 PM