It is not uncommon for leaders who have held positions of power for a long time to start to feel more distant from employees.  This does not mean that they don’t care about employees or understand the importance of people to their business.  

Rather, it means that due to the function of their role, they start to emotionally disconnect, causing the ability to be empathetic to begin to erode. Leaders can simply become desensitized to employee issues due to the scope and criticality of the responsibilities and decisions they face in their own leadership role. 

To be an effective leader, you do not have to always be empathetic (i.e., feel the emotions that others feel in the way they might be feeling them), but you should show compassion.  As defined in an article from the Harvard Business Review, compassion is the intent to contribute to the happiness and wellbeing of others.  It is a leadership quality that is noticeable and can be cultivated. 

Compassion is also a leadership attribute that makes a significant difference for your employees and their engagement, which makes a significant difference to the success of the business.