Empathy and Leadership in the 21st century

'If we choose to be bound by the past we will never move forward.......'   -  Barack Obama  


I have been asked to make a speech next week about Leadership in the 21st century and how we can make the world a better place. So it got me researching and thinking about all the great qualities the leaders of today require because they are very different requirements from the leaders of the 20th century.

Easy access to information through the internet has made it much harder to conceal selfish, unacceptable behaviour. So leaders of today need to have integrity, humility and wisdom and be authentic and courageous. They need to exemplify, empower and transform by being a mentor, guide and role model; be resilient, act effectively, contribute uniqueness, embrace change and stay grounded. With all of these qualities they are going to have to have a great sense of humour too because they're going to need it!!

However, I believe in a rapidly changing world; in a globalizing world; in a multicultural world, there is more and more uncertainty; less hierarchy and more interdependence in finding a common purpose. I believe that the truly great leaders in this era all have one attribute in common and that is empathy. If you can master this intangible, often overlooked skill that allows you to connect with and relate to others - you'll go far in your community, relationships and business. Great leaders relate to the people they serve. Business success depends on empathetic leaders who are able to adapt, build on the strengths around them and relate to their environment. Empathy is the driving force behind all great leaders communication. A critical part of developing empathy is learning to understand, respect and implement another person's point of view rather than forcing your own. It's keeping working on a solution until we hear each other, which can take time and doesn't fit in the fast moving demands of the 21st century - however it is so worth the time and effort and I believe all great leaders understand this!

Whilst I was researching this I came across a wonderful You Tube conversation with Hillary Rodham Clinton (below) having been presented with the Chatham House Prize 2013 last week in London. Please listen to her in conversation as she exemplifies a true leader with empathy and the importance of trust in establishing long term relationships.  I believe she's inspirational for the next generation of 21st century leaders.


Inspirational eh? However, the foundation for relationships is the relationship we have with ourselves - self-awareness and being in the moment and aligning to our core values - this is what my leadership speech and next blog will be based upon.......... Have a good week!

'When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace'  -   Jimi Hendrix