Empathy and Leadership – By Scott Costello

Empathy, I feel is something that can be learned; just as everything in life, nothing is impossible. My dad once told me “I can’t teach you everything in this world, but the best thing you can do is be a sponge and learn from everything you possibly can”. That simple little piece of advice works in everything, even empathy. Empathy is something that we are taught since the time we’re little; ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’.

This is just a subtle form of empathy. Prior to joining the LDP, I’ve always had a good sense of empathy even though in the day to day I would see it completely ignored. Since joining though, I’ve seen empathy change my surroundings, even change my outlook. A great example of this would be how a couple of weeks ago I had worked all weekend long. In five days, I wound up working 57.5 hours. I missed our weekly team workout, and I felt terrible about it. Although, when I explained it to my fellow team members, I didn’t get ‘well that’s your problem’ or ‘ohh well’, what I got instead was advice. This advice showed that they listened to me, heard what I had to say, and pushed me not to continue necessarily, but to take a step back and relax. They could not only see, but they could understand what I was going through. This is why empathy is such a big thing when it comes down to community; understanding.

        Teams are often either made or broken by their understanding of one another. Being able to share feelings with another in your team or community is important. Although, knowing how to apply empathy is where the true magic comes into play. When one understands how and when to apply empathy, it can strengthen a community beyond belief. If you are able to understand and relate to your community in the appropriate times, then it will be easy to gain the respect of your team. Simply because they know you understand, and that you are somebody that they can go to when things tend to get tough.