“Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me" - Job 19:21.
Job was in the midst of his trials and he turned to his friends for help. Their lack of compassion and harsh advice are legendary as an example of how not to comfort someone going through a tough time. They could not empathize with Job because they had not done the tough work of recognizing and acknowledging their own weaknesses and emotional neediness, so how could they possibly identify with someone else's pain and sorrow? Leaders can learn to empathize with others when they are in touch with their own shortcomings and humanity, and can be gracious to others when they learn to be gracious to themselves.
LEADERSHIP STEP: Your awareness of others begins with your own self-awareness. Your Step today is to recognize your emotional condition. This may seem awkward, but keep a journal today chronicling your emotional state for the day. If you feel fear, write it down and explain why. If you are happy, record that too along with what made you so. Do the same with anger, surprise, joy, and all other emotions along with the details of why they emerged. As you recognize your own emotional state, it will then be easier to do so for others.