Everyone begins life in a completely self-centered state. When a child is properly raised, the egocentric state gradually gives way to a widening circle of empathy and responsibility. On the contrary, if a child (as most do) has an inconsistent upbringing, he will emerge into adulthood with flat spots in his character, immaturities which will constrain to self-concern, fueled by judgment, when he is under pressure.
You cannot truly assume responsibility for a creative field without having developed a capacity for empathy. Without empathy, a leader must resort to control by force. He does not inspire, but requires. He does not compel by force of the virtue which courses through him; he simply bludgeons those around him into submission. Such leadership is not sustainable. Neither is it fulfilling.
A leader who continually refines his capacity for empathy, however, generates an upward pressure in his field of responsibility. It is an attractive leadership in the sense that empathy creates a bond that can withstand the pressures of creative activity. We need more leaders like this!
3 thoughts on “A Widening Circle”
I am always aware that the sun shines on the just and the unjust. Empathy to me is like the sun, in that it extends a radiant blessing without expecting or wanting anything in return.
Sometimes we get the differences between Empathy and Sympathy mixed up, but to be an effective leader we need to know the differences clearly. The best definition that I have ever heard about the two is that “sympathy often adds to ones problems” where as “empathy can often assist others to discover how to effectively resolve their problems and issues”. Empathy is to me the ability to put yourself into another’s particular situation and assist them in discovering healthy solutions for themselves.
Empathy is an amazing attribute; it gives you an understanding of another’s situation without the judgement of it. Judgement seems to fuel either sympathy or self righteousness.