Speaking from my years of experience working with people, families and communities as a professional coach, trainer, psychotherapist and social worker, I’ve always appreciated that our human needs are very clear – we want to be seen, have a voice and be able to contribute in a meaningful way.
And a robot or computer simply can’t provide that connection in any significant way and never will be able to. A robot is no competition for the human touch, the human heart and the human ear.
As leaders, these subtle but critical sensibilities show up as empathy. Empathy is the core of all social & emotional intelligence: true inspirational leadership never happens without it. Empathy is the ability to see the situation from another person’s eyes and heart. It’s the ability to set aside your own agenda, to listen deeply without judgment and to be able to genuinely understand and appreciate the perspective of another.
Do all leaders have this ability? No, they do not but the ones who do are remembered for their ability to engage and inspire us to always be at our best. We will work our hearts and souls out for that leader who genuinely hears us, values us and gives us the opportunity to use our talents to contribute in meaningful ways.
Can empathy be learned? Yes, it can, with daily practice and an authentic belief and enjoyment of others. It’s part of what clearly differentiates us from any computer program, machine or data package.
A robot can’t compete or replace us when we as leaders are at our best and humanly connected to others.