Leaders who succeed in today’s world take an empathetic approach to solving problems. Practicing empathy enables you to view challenges from multiple perspectives, an essential skill for leaders who want to inspire innovation. Princeton University visiting lecturer Michael Ventura argues that empathy is like a muscle, in that you can train it by embracing certain perspectives and rituals. He guides you toward practicing empathy to achieve alignment in your business and personal life while seizing opportunities for growth. Ventura also sends you on an inward journey to learn to have empathy for yourself.
Cultivate empathy by learning to see the world from other people’s perspectives.
You can tackle almost any problem by using empathy. When you practice empathy, you can achieve a deeper understanding of your customers’ needs, which enables you to serve them more effectively. Empathy helps you collaborate meaningfully with your team, and move toward self-understanding and growth as a leader.
To reach empathetic solutions, develop the ability to view situations from other people’s perspectives. Become aware of your biases and subjective viewpoints. For example, if you’re trying to figure out how to create a better product to sell to your customers, first analyze your perspective – perhaps you value speed and functionality. Consider your customers’ point of view. Perhaps affordability matters more to them. Consider your competitors’ concerns. Maybe they find your company’s design capability intimidating. When you view problems from multiple perspectives, you access more nuanced information that can help you build a better product.
Many company leaders fail to practice...
Michael Ventura, a visiting lecturer at Princeton University, is the founder and CEO of the strategy and design studio Sub Rosa.