The Power of Empathy
Empathy is an absolute requirement for effective leadership. It allows us to form personal connections and bonds within groups. Empathy is our human ability to sense others feelings by tuning into their experiences. We do this through the emotional information we intuit. Psychopathic behaviours arise from a lack of empathy towards others. Empathy guides us within groups, intuitively creating feelings that steer us to safety and away from danger. As our ability to empathize grows, our intuition heightens.
We learn empathy as we grow and develop in life. Empathy occurs when our frontal lobes and our amygdala, which is responsible for the fight or flight responses, interact. Our frontal lobes do not fully develop until we are in our twenties, when we understand our life’s experiences and utilize the lessons learnt. This learning creates new beliefs which forms our internal self-talk between the frontal lobes and the amygdala about the world around us.
We receive information in our amygdala from our feelings about others, which is our first response when looking at another. It is the fastest processor within the brain though it takes in less information. It works simultaneously with the frontal lobe, which is low speed but high resolution. Due to the opposing dynamics of interaction, most situations we encounter with an emotional aspect are discerned by the amygdala, then our frontal lobe. The lessons we learn earliest in life produce our initial and often strongest response. When we develop to thinking about our thoughts and feelings, we are training our amygdala to create new responses, which allow a more mature connection with others.
Through the practice of mindfulness and self-awareness, we can develop intuitive feelings about how others are feeling and allow these to guide us towards positive, connected, mature action. During chaotic or perplexing situations, we can call on this skill to lead effectively.
By training or minds to create better empowering beliefs, we expand our ability to use the power of empathy and relate meaningfully with others.