Building a Better Leader: Empathy Improves Engagement

Issue 08 and Volume 172.

By BENJAMIN MARTIN and STEPHEN MARSAR A firefighter sits bewildered in his lieutenant’s office watching what amounts to a three-ring circus of activity. The lieutenant has called him into the office to deliver the firefighter’s annual performance review; but, for some reason, the lieutenant had also chosen that moment to call his wife, which leaves the firefighter sitting awkwardly on the other side on the desk waiting to be told what to do next. He uses the delay to reflect on what he might expect to hear from his boss. A lot had happened over the past year, and he is eager to discuss all the improvements that he had informally led across the team. The lieutenant he worked for was the “hands-off” type, perhaps a little too much so. He seldom organized training or spent any time mentoring the newest probationary team member and, quite frankly, he wasn’t very…

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