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Empathy isn’t a Gift. It’s “Being With.”



Dave, a client, confessed, "Roberto, when I read that EQ report, the low empathy score...well, let's just say I wanted to throw it out the window."


"How can it be low? I practically live and breathe for my team!"


This wasn't uncommon. Alpha leaders like Dave – brilliant, driven, and results-oriented – often score low on empathy. They believe in tough love, push their teams to greatness, and struggle with the concept of empathy.


Dave, like many Alphas, confuses empathy with "doing."


He listed everything he did for his team: mentoring, providing resources, and shielding them from corporate headwinds. "Isn't that support?" he said.


Here's the truth, Dave (and every Alpha leader reading this): empathy isn't about doing or giving things to your team. It's about being withpresent with them, feeling their struggles and triumphs.


Think about it this way, Dave. Imagine your son nails the winning shot at his soccer game. You don't "give" him joy; you feel a surge of pride because you're sharing that moment with him. 


Empathy is that same feeling mirrored in your team's experiences.


Dave answered, "So, you're saying I just sit around and listen to everyone whine?"

"Absolutely not." "It's about small moments of connection, like acknowledging the pressure of a deadline or the fatigue after a late night. 


A simple, 'This project is a beast, huh?' followed by genuine silence shows you see them, not just the task at hand."


Silence. It was a new concept for Dave, the man who thrived on action.

"But what if they need solutions?"


"They will, Dave. But sometimes, just feeling heard and seen is the first step. It opens the door to real communication, where you can find solutions together."


Then Dave mentioned Sarah, a talented but quiet developer who often felt overshadowed. For him, as a problem-solver, he would bombard her with ideas.


Sarah, overwhelmed, would retreat further and not engage.


"Empathy would be to ask Sarah how she feels about the project," I suggested.


"Maybe she has brilliant solutions you haven't considered."


I could see him reflect on this. "I know, I know, I’ve heard this before. It's not about me fixing things, but creating a space to discuss the struggles with them, right?"


"Exactly, Dave. True leadership is about building a team, not a solo act. Small touches of empathy are the bridge that connects you to your team, creating a space where everyone feels valued, heard, and empowered to excel."


But here is another key aspect that every Alpha leader often misses.


Many of you, myself included, struggle to be empathetic towards yourselves. You push yourselves relentlessly, rarely acknowledging your own struggles.


This makes it difficult to understand and connect with the struggles of others.


Here's the challenge: Start by looking in the mirror. 


When was the last time you acknowledged your own stress or allowed yourself a moment of vulnerability?


I know you because I’ve been there. You’re exhausted.


You can't pour from an empty cup. By being kind to yourself, you open yourself up to being kind to others and understanding what empathy truly is.


It’s not easy for you, the Alpha who thrives on control and results.


Slowly, however, incorporating these "empathy moments," you’ll create a more engaged team, a more collaborative environment, and, yes, even better results.


And it starts with you.


I see you.


I know you because I’ve been there.


You’re exhausted, Alpha.


I’m here.


Roberto


PS: Download my FREE guide, "7 Key Insights - The Untapped Power of the Alpha Leader," where I cover this topic and offer practical strategies you can implement immediately.







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