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The Surprising Leadership Skill That Wins Clients and Influences Success Everytime

As we find ourselves already midway through January, with the bustling activity of the House of Commons resuming soon (if you work in politics, you know!), it’s hard not to feel a sense of urgency and a bit of that familiar chaos. Over the holidays, I've taken a moment to pause and reflect, particularly on my leadership style and the core values of my business.

During the quieter moments of the holiday season, I pondered a common critique faced by women in business: being labelled as overly emotional or too empathetic. It's a stereotype I've often found challenging, as I don't identify with the traditional traits society frequently associates with women leaders. My approach has always been assertive, tenacious, and confident. Yet, I can't deny my strong sense of empathy – a trait I've realized is not just a part of me but a significant strength in my professional journey.

The past few months have been a powerful reminder of the importance of empathy in business – a revelation that, if I'm honest, caught me by surprise. My personal experiences, particularly in caregiving for family members in their final moments, have deeply ingrained in me the value of people. Whether it was rearranging schedules in emergencies or spending days at the hospital in palliative care, these experiences have shaped my understanding of what truly matters.

I recall the time during maternity leave with my second child when I would drive two hours to Kingston (with my baby), juggling between caring for my grandpa in the hospital and my family. It's a testament to my commitment to those I love, a trait often admired by others.

An older person holding a younger persons hands in front of them.

But what does this mean for me as a business owner? Shouldn't I be all about work? The answer, I've learned, is no. Being empathetic doesn't detract from my professional capabilities but enhances them. In my career, I've encountered clients facing significant crises, some even life-threatening. My empathetic nature means I prioritize their needs, remain constantly available, and provide clear guidance amidst their stress and confusion. My clients have appreciated and recognized this approach as a standout trait that sets me apart from the competition.

Empathy in leadership is not a weakness; it's a valuable skill. It's about being human, aligning with your values, and excelling in your role. My clients have often attested that my ability to go above and beyond to anticipate and meet their needs, especially in critical moments, differentiates my services.

"The greatest gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy."

– Meryl Streep

So, the next time you hear someone say a leader is too empathetic, remember empathy is a strength. This unique quality benefits everyone involved and sets a leader apart in the competitive business world.

"I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it."

– Maya Angelou

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