There are 2 types of empathy that a leader needs to understand and balance on a daily basis.
1. Affective empathy: When you as a leader step into someone’s emotional state e.g. “I feel your pain”
2. Cognitive empathy: When you as a leader step into someone’s condition e.g. “I see what you mean”
In order to be an effective leader, one should emphasize cognitive over affective empathy.
There is enough evidence that highlights the importance of empathy in leadership, but there is a flip side to being empathic in a way as to lose or diminish executive leadership skills such as planning, organizing, problem-solving, and decision-making.
Cognitive empathy allows leaders to balance their relationships by creating a comforting, friendly atmosphere with their employees while also encouraging the latter’s self-efficacy.
Great leaders have perfected the art of striking this balance and tend to leverage their “Cognitive empathy” more than their “Affective empathy”
The last thing your team needs is a leader who has emotional breakdowns during a crisis.