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                 They have either lost confidence that you can help or conclude that you do not care. Either case is a failure of Leadership.”
Social awareness is the third competency of emotional intelligence. This competency explains why knowing and recognizing others’ emotions
and reactions is essential for connection between individuals (Landry, 2019). Leaders who want to practice and facilitate empathy must understand the importance of this competency for many reasons. This competency shows others that you are aware of how they may be feeling and that you are choosing to put aside your personal feelings to empathize in their time of need or assistance. By understanding subordinates’ feelings and perspectives, leaders
can communicate and collaborate with others
more effectively. Researchers from the Center for Creative Leadership found that leaders who shared or showed empathy towards colleagues were more often better connected as time progressed. This research also showed that by communicating effectively with empathy, leaders are a better asset to the organization, and the performance of the team continuously improved over time (Gentry et al., 2007).
Relationship management is the final competency of emotional intelligence, and its importance is no less than the three previous competencies. How well a leader can teach, coach, influence, mentor, and resolve conflicts is key to success as a senior or manager regardless of the organization. There are leaders in the military today who run from conflict or uncomfortable situations. As a leader, it is crucial to address
issues as they arise to ensure they do not become more significant issues in the future. Having critical conversations may ease unknown stressors that may not always be visible on the surface. If appropriately conducted, these conversations may bring clarity to the leader or subordinate about an ongoing issue. However, if either subordinate or leader feel the need to address the situation, the problems will go unresolved while further creating conflict throughout the organization. In an era in the military where time is essential, not addressing an issue can equate to eight or more valuable man-hours lost due to gossip, lack of clarity, or a simple miscommunication amongst the team that could eventually divide members. Leaders must have conversations that no one wants to have. Over time, if these conversations occur, the trust between leader and subordinate will blossom, and minor
issues will begin to be resolved quicker than if those discussions had not happened.
While a seemingly less discussed topic in the military, emotional intelligence is a part of what the military projects to its members through leader attributes and core competencies displayed throughout military regulations. Leaders must understand that the technical ability, which many possess, is not equivalent to having empathy and effectively communicating with subordinates. One can know all the answers to the test but lack the know-how to share with another person. It is that lack of personality skills that will hinder growth or connection between individuals.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a
touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around” – Leo Buscaglia
As defined by the Army as “a process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish the mission
and improving the organization” (ADP 6-22), Leadership is the foundation upon which leaders are born. To fully embody this definition, leaders must understand they are not to stand on the sidelines quietly but comment on issues concerning the force as needed. Leaders are to set precedence by any means necessary as long as standards remain upright and subordinates receive the care needed to thrive in the organization. However, the truth is, some leaders are too afraid or uneducated to the point the mark on the wall is repeatedly missed. Some of our leaders seem to be more concerned with being liked by their subordinates. The liker-ship is at times confused with leaders who are empathic towards individuals within their organization.
Being an empathetic leader has many advantages. Some advantages include having a better understanding of your subordinates and
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