First Person: Engaging the Workforce with Empathetic Leadership
27 May 2021
Area Development’s staff editor Mark Crawford recently asked Ericsson’s Dan Kerber, vice president of digital services business operations for North America — who helps companies improve their financial and operational metrics through improved resource management processes — about his thoughts on leadership, especially the need for “soft skills” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Area Development: What are the most important soft skills needed for leadership today?
Kerber: There are many important soft skills, but the three I have found most important are communication, giving effective feedback, and empathy. Good communication skills are essential for conveying information, decisions, and your thought processes to your team. Giving effective feedback is also essential, but often fundamentally uncomfortable for many people, which makes them reluctant to move into leadership roles. Empathy is hugely important for effective leadership today, especially during the pandemic. I have seen plenty of successful and not-so-successful leaders who fell across the spectrum, ranging from highly empathetic to borderline android, and I know which kind I want to be.