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Why we need more empathetic and compassionate leaders. (2016)

“Toxic leaders are creating toxic workplaces.”

Ray Williams
Psychology Today, 28 Aug 2016

“Leaders in business schools, organizations and politics are taught to lead with their heads and not with their hearts. Leaders are expected to be strategic, rational, tough, bottom-line business people who focus on results. Yet, recent research on successful leaders and the current turbulent economic and social times calls out for a different style of leader – one that exhibits kindness, compassion and empathy.

“…. We are in … a paradox in the form of a gap between the way leaders are defined by hundreds of leadership studies and surveys of employees – collaborative, compassionate, empathetic – and the leaders we actually end up choosing – controlling, often authoritarian, narcissistic, sometimes psychopathic and at a minimum, dominating. And they are invariably males.

“In his new book, Leadership BS, Jeffrey Pfeffer says, based on his research, “there is overwhelming evidence of workplaces filled with disengaged, dissatisfied employees who do not trust their leaders and whose often expressed number one desire is to leave their current employer.” He goes on to say that the the failure of leaders has taken a “enormous psychological and even physical toll exacted on employees from bullying, abusive bosses and work environments filled with multiple sources of stress.”

“Pfeffer says that our tendency to continue the mythology of superperformers, building up leaders to be larger than life feeds the desire for narcissistic and/or authoritarian leaders.”

Access the full blog here: Why we need more empathetic and compassionate leaders.

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