Empathy And Leadership
Bible Character: King Cyrus
The Lord, the God of Heaven, has given me all the Kingdoms of the Earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 1 Ezra 1:2 NIV
King Cyrus of Persia controlled the Israelites, but he had compassion on them by releasing them from bondage to return to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. He even provided them with many of the supplies to build with.
How does leadership show empathy without appearing to be soft?
Many relationships with our co-workers are maintained without truly understanding them. Identifying what is important to others helps us understand how to connect their interests to the organizational mission. It’s a win-win situation.
Verse 1:1 of Ezra tells us that God moved King Cyrus’s heart to make the proclamation. King Cyrus must have had a good understanding of the Jewish people to be open to God’s message.
The Right Thing
King Cyrus knew the right thing to do was to free the Israelites and let them rebuild their temple. On the surface, the decision did not seem to benefit him or his leadership, but he followed through on his commitment.
Society and human instinct sometimes fools us into protecting our power at the cost of another’s expense.
King Cyrus was not prescribing to the management philosophy of “make a profit at any expense”. It’s easy to get caught up in this mentality, especially in an ultra-competitive environment.
King Cyrus rejected this mentality…and by doing so empowered the Israelites. One of the keys to an organization reaching full potential is the empowerment of the staff through support of leadership.