The dark side of empathy

In recent months, empathy has been trending with millions of hits and views on the topic. Employees are demanding greater empathy to support their wellbeing, and leaders and organizations are responding by seeking to demonstrate cultures of compassion. But empathy comes with some rather significant problems argues sociologist Tracy Brower. When misused or misunderstood it can lead to poor choices, disempowerment, burnout, and arguably could even contribute to terrible phenomena like human trafficking.  


It’s important to know the focus on empathy is justified. A study by Catalyst found when leaders are more empathetic, people tended to be more innovative, engaged and likely to stay with their company. In addition, research published in 

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