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How to Train and Practice Empathy With Other Leaders Working with other leaders on empathy can help the team make adjustments for productivity and well-being at work.

By Nichole Kelly

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Taking on other people's emotions is one of a leader's unspoken challenges that can quickly become overwhelming and detrimental to one's overall mental health if not addressed. When a team member comes to me stressed or full of anxiety, this adds to the collective emotional weight I'm carrying. Leaders need to take the time to practice empathy in a safe setting so we can learn how to navigate some of the more contagious emotions like anger, fear, anxiety and depression.

The role of a leader is to be able to understand and inspire your team into action that positively impacts the company. To do that, we have to understand our people, and the best way to understand our people is to tap into how they feel. You can spend oodles of time getting to know all the details of their personal lives, work lives and play lives, but nothing will give you more useful information than how someone is feeling right now.

If I'm feeling inspired and challenged, I will bring my best work to the table. But I'm feeling anxious and depressed, I will subconsciously bring my anxious and depressed work to the table while legitimately trying my best. The difference in the end work product is profound, so it's essential leaders can tap into a steady flow of inspired creativity with their team.

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