Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, is a basic human instinct. It is also essential for competent leadership.

Empathy enables leaders to know if the people they're trying to connect with are actually reached. It allows them to predict the effect their decisions and actions will have on core audiences and to strategise accordingly. Those higher up the empathy scale are more able to inspire loyalty and communicate clearly. Empathetic leaders are assets to organisations, in part because they are able to effectively build and maintain relationships.

Fortunately, empathy (or lack of it) is not a fixed trait. It can be learned. Leaders can build on and enhance their empathy skills through coaching, training, or development initiatives.

BIE spoke to Consultant, Speaker and Scientist, Dr. Ula Cartwright-Finch, to better understand the science behind empathy, its importance in business, and how leaders can develop their empathy skills. 

Ula Cartwright-Finch is the Founder of Cortex Capital, a business that specialises in applying psychology and neuroscience to business and law. 

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