This is an article by Dacher Keltner, one of the founders of the Greater Good Science Center and one of the leading psychologists today who studies emotions such as empathy, compassion, and awe, and the effects they have on individuals and groups.
The article correlates rise to leadership with empathy. Though perhaps it should be taken into account that in our industry, leadership is determined by grants, research, and publications; this correlation between leaders and empathy might not exist in our culture. However, this quote from the article struck me as important:
“Team members led by empathetic managers — who listen, hear, and take in what others think and feel — work in more productive, innovative, and satisfying ways.”
If this also applies to scientists, it is in the best interest of a group, institute, and funding body to promote empathetic PIs and group leaders. But there exists what Dacher calls a power paradox, in which leaders find it harder to be empathetic and can even lose their ability to do so after they’ve gained power. It is interesting to wonder if this also applies in science, and explains some of the bad mentoring stories we’ve heard. We’d love to hear your opinions on the topic in the comment section below.
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