Empathy is something we highly value as business owners. As the year ends on a very tumultuous year globally, it’s a perfect time to reflect. At myCEO we support people with their businesses but we never lose sight of the fact that very often business and life intersect, and it might change how you do your business.

Recent global events have caused lots of sadness, anger, confusion. How we do our business and how we lead may change as well.  Unfortunately we’re aware that the news is not always bias-free, nor is it always balanced. Social media opinions are not always accurate and can in fact be hurtful and destructive. 

As human beings who are business owners, it’s expected that these issues affect us not only in our personal lives but also in our businesses. In these troubling times it’s important for us as business owners not to forget the traits that make us human, traits such as empathy and curiosity.

The power of empathy as a business owner cannot be overstated. Truly empathetic leaders are those who are curious and non-judgmental. They seek to understand. They possess self-awareness and take time to self-reflect. They are not perfect people as we all have blind spots, but that self-reflection is important to them.

The world is full of questions we need to be curious about. Without curiosity, we will accept what we have been taught and stubbornly refuse to look beyond that.  We will accept all we read on social media without questioning it, leading to distrust, lack of empathy, and going along with the loudest voices, who aren’t always correct.

Being a great leader often involves standing alone and not following the crowd. It’s not accepting things at face value, it’s about moving past the noise and taking time to really examine your thoughts and feelings..People like this are often innovative. We know this is true when we look at innovative leaders, a great example being Steve Jobs who did things nobody had ever done before.

As we are exposed more and more to the world, to those who come from different cultures and backgrounds, to those who have walked different paths, it’s important to have a non-judgmental curiosity, a non-judgmental one. We learn about people by taking the time to get to know them, especially through conversations. We owe it to ourselves, especially given our easy access to knowledge, to not only challenge our assumptions, in both life and business, but also seek to truly understand.

As we enter 2024 let’s strive to be different. Let’s focus on empathy and curiosity.