Leadership beyond empathy: “I am here to help you”

Leadership beyond empathy: "I am here to help you"

In these days I have tried to reflect on the exegesis of what is happening in Ukraine and in cascade in the world. I observed the line of communication of the “Leaders” and some press organs.

All the “Leaderships” worldwide are using 3 of the 4 elements that can generate an emotional jolt in the population, except the one that prompts action. It almost seems like a deliberate stalemate.

Many feel  pity  and have little willingness to act and little understanding of another’s experience. They are simply sorry for them. 

Then we can observe the  sympathy. There is a small increase in our willingness to help and in our understanding of each other. We feel good about the other person.

Moving up another level, we come to empathy. With empathy we have an intimate and visceral understanding of the other person’s experience. We identify with the other. We literally feel his emotions and make those feelings our own. While it is a noble thing to do, it does not necessarily help the other, except perhaps to make him feel less alone in the experience of him.

Finally we can have a good understanding of what the other person is experiencing and a willingness to act. Our understanding of others’ experience is greater than empathy because we attract our emotional awareness and rational understanding.

Compassion manifests itself when we turn away from empathy and ask ourselves what we can do to support the person in pain.

In this way, compassion is an intention versus an emotion. Gino Strada’s greatness was precisely this, focusing everything on the fourth component, compassion. He knew he could count on no leader in any war zone, just as he knew that there would be deaths and injuries.

This war is no exception, the world “leaders use” the number of wounded and dead, Gino Strada was there and tried to kill as little as possible to count as little as possible.

Perfect example of true Leadership… “ beyond empathy, I am here to help you “.

Pasquale Aiello

Pasquale Aiello is President of the ENTD – National Body for Digital Transformation[9]. He also is the author of the book: “Ethical Unlockdown” and Enterprise Top Consultant, Global Strategist & Digital Humanist.

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