The Empathic Leader:. A New Dynamic for School Improvement Michele W. Atkins, Ph.D. Ann H. Singleton, Ed.D. Union University Jackson, Tennessee. Underlying Questions. Why are you a school leader? What are the characteristics of an effective leader? What are the goals of education?
The Empathic Leader:
A New Dynamic for School Improvement
Michele W. Atkins, Ph.D.
Ann H. Singleton, Ed.D.
* moving from authority to influence
* “the snowball effect”
The language of leadership must be changed to reflect the unpredictable and chaotic world in which leaders can lead and children can learn.
Dad once looked down at an assembly line of women and thought, “These are all like my own mom – they have kids, homes to take care of, people who need them.” It motivated him to work hard to give them a better life because he saw his mom in all of them. That’s how it all begins – with fundamental respect and empathy.
Bob Galvin, CEO
Speaking of his father, founder of Motorola
46% of those who quit their jobs last year did so because they felt unappreciated.
U.S. Department of Labor
A human being is part of the whole, called by us the “universe.” He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is kind of a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
The new model of business intelligence treats people, markets, ideas, and organizations as unique and alive, inherently capable of change, interaction, synergy, and growth.
Leaders who are more attuned to intuitive information (more empathic) will have more influence than others who are not.
The Bureaucratic Leader focuses on exerting influence through the external pursuit of power and control. The Empathic Leader is more inner directed and can access a wider range of competencies, thereby creating a form of influence that is very powerful.
If you look to lead, invest 40% of your time managing yourself – your ethics, character, principles, purpose, motivation, and conduct. Invest at least 30% managing those with authority over you, and 15% managing your peers. Use the remainder to induce those you ‘work for’ to understand and practice these principles. I use the term ‘work for’ advisedly, for if you don’t understand that you should be working for your mislabeled ‘subordinates’, you haven’t understood anything.
Dee Hock, CEO
If you keep to one corner and neglect the myriad aspects of the totality, if you take one thing and discard the rest, then what you attain will be little and what you master will be shallow.
Lao Tzu – 6th Century B.C.
A leader’s true power is not the capacity to destroy but the ability to influence others.
Professor of Leadership, Harvard University
The Empathic Leader acknowledges the other person’s competence and value, thereby creating an atmosphere of reciprocal giving. When people feel they give more to a relationship than they get in return, they feel distress and typically either reduce inputs (come in late, miss meetings, gossip, careless work), increase complaints (ask for transfers or better working conditions), or end the relationship.
When children feel safe, cared about, and relaxed they will learn more, not less. Our children are able to grapple with higher-order thinking questions because they don’t face the petty disturbances that arise in mainstream schools. We resolve conflicts as they come up, thereby reducing the children’s distractions.
Here's the Catch:
Do As I Do, Not Just As I Say
Research indicates that when educators model desired
empathic behaviors, children are more likely to adopt these
behaviors themselves than when they are merely told to
behave in a certain manner.
Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?
Martin Luther King, Jr.