The world needs more empathy, I believe this is something we can all agree on but what does that mean? For many when they think about being empathetic they immediately think about their interaction with others. Which is the key principle of empathy but I believe to be an empathetic leader not only must you recognize and share in the feelings of others but you must make changes to empower others to recognize and share in your own feelings.
Now for many leaders, this can be scary because being transparent, relatable and accessible go against what we’ve been taught in that you can’t lead while also being a friend and you must create distance and isolation to establish power. In today’s hyper-connected world where trust is lacking and attention is hard to capture the characteristics of what people are looking for in a leader have drastically changed. Trust as a leader is no longer established through who you know, what you’ve done or what you say you’ll do rather trust in leadership is empowered through a leaders ability to establish connection! As the wise & insightful Brene Brown says:
“Our purpose in life is connection, and connection can only happen as a result of authenticity.”Brene Brown
As leaders, we must understand this increased desire for transparency and start shifting our mindset with the goal of being authentic about everything we do and who we are… Leaders must start by embracing these two key mindset shifts:
I’ve always said WE > ME, but for this to work, you have to be the best “me” you can be. To be the best you, you have to understand who you are, how you work and what you’re good at.
When I was younger, I got picked on for an array of things that were out of my control. Things like the fact that I spoke quickly, I was too emotional, or I was interested in everything and the “jack of all trades, master of none”. These were all traits that made me different from my peers.
Today, through shifting my mindset and becoming more self-aware, these are traits that make me successful and it’s because I’ve recognized them, honed in on them and owned them.
I learned to shift my perspective on the things that made me different to make them my super power.
It’s not enough to understand what someone is feeling, you must understand where they are coming from and how they got to that feeling.
When you own your vulnerabilities and share them authenticately they become the glue people attach to.
As the quote above by Brene Brown stated connection is the result of authenticity and authenticity is often founded in our ability to be vulnerable.
Practice What We Preach:
Brian walks through a long list of things that he’s learned about himself that he used to be embarrassed about but now realize are what make him unique which are included below as he broke them down into two categories:
Skills that I’ve found essential yet not focused on early in my career:
Skills that I’ve found essential yet not focused on early in my career:— Brian Fanzo iSocialFanz (@iSocialFanz) March 5, 2019
Skill set scaling
Things I was embarrassed about growing up, teased about in high school, tried to change in my 20’s and became my superpowers now in my 30’s:
- Had a little stutter
- Talked too fast
- Wanted to make everyone happy
- Jack of all trades master of none
- Mommas boy
- Too emotional
- Struggled taking tests
- Always starting new projects & didn’t finishing any
- Avoided conflict
- Wanted to be a Dad
- Was chubby
- Believed I would change the world
I challenge you to focus on being more self-aware, embrace your vulnerabilities and you’ll be amazed at not only how