Sensitivity is, perhaps, the most underestimated quality in the entire world. It is almost always associated with fragility and weakness, when in reality it is a tremendous strength. Sensitive people are insightful and intelligent, enough to recognize and understand their own emotions. They are also brave enough to display them in public.
Many of us prefer to live in denial before recognizing that we are vulnerable. At the same time, we never conquer our greatest internal fears and obstacles.
What the world needs is more people with a sensitive soul, since they are aware of themselves and are also empathic. People with these qualities are leaders by nature, and good leaders have a high degree of something known as Emotional Intelligence. They understand themselves and others, which is a product of their own sensitivity.
You can not lead others if you do not know yourself
The importance of being a self-aware leader is captured perfectly in the following Latin proverb:
It is absurd that a man who must govern others can not govern himself.
If you do not have a good understanding of your internal mechanisms and what drives your decisions, then you are not in the best position to be able to guide others. Finding yourself implies reaching an agreement with your emotions and what they dictate to you. It requires being completely honest with your feelings. And it requires a lot of sensitivity.
Being a leader is not about celebrating that you are in a certain position or status, it is defined by the help you give, or not, to other people to feel a little less lost in this crazy journey we call life. But you can not help others find their way in the world when you are still looking for yourself.
Individuals with a strong sense of self are safer, more practical and naturally inspire others to trust them. They also know how to laugh at themselves, which helps maintain both perspective and sanity.
Daniel Goleman is the author of many books on Emotional Intelligence and Leadership. His research has shown that emotionally intelligent people are the best suited to be leaders.
Being aware of yourself is the first component of emotional intelligence.
Being aware of yourself means having a deep knowledge of each of the emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and impulses.
People with a strong self-awareness are neither too critical nor overly optimistic. Rather, they are honest, with themselves and with others.
Poor leadership is the result of insecurity, lack of authenticity and a closed mentality. These qualities often cause people to be cruel to others. When you do not understand, or do not like yourself, the people around you become scapegoats.
Sensitive people have an extreme advantage in this regard, since they are deeply aware of their emotions and especially their identity. This is precisely the reason why they are very suitable for leadership.
You can not go without empathy
For a moment, think about the worst bosses you've had. Most likely they were selfish, terrible at the time of listening and deeply insecure. Unable to show compassion for others and completely engrossed in themselves. As a result, they made your work miserable.
Ernest Hemingway once said:
When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.
Great leaders are very good at listening. They do it with empathy and sincerity, in addition to trying to put themselves in the other person's place. At the same time, they build trust, alleviate discontent and help find solutions to various problems and complaints.
Employees are happier when they have compassionate and empathetic bosses. And happy employees collaborate, they are more productive and creative. In clearer words, compassionate leadership is universally positive.
Emma Seppälä, Director of Science at the Stanford University Center for Research and Education in Compassion and Altruism, highlights:
Managers can refuse compassion for fear of appearing weak. However, the story is full of very compassionate leaders Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, to name a few.
They were leaders so strong and inspiring that people left everything to follow them. Contrary to popular opinion, true leaders are not dominant and firm, but cooperative and emotionally open.
The world would be a better place if by own decision people who have leadership positions were more sensitive, empathetic and compassionate.
The Dalai Lama has expressed:
Love and compassion are needs, not luxuries. Without them, humanity can not survive.
Human suffering is caused by the inability to understand the points of view and feelings of others. If we really want progress as a species, we have to embrace our own emotions, while we try to understand what others are feeling.
Great leaders understand that compassion raises the spirit of both those who give it and who receives it.