Cognitive empathy (reading other people) is very important so that people understand other people and know how to interact with them. A boss with good cognitive empathy will know how to interact in just the right ways to maximize the bottom line.
Affective empathy (feelings of concern for others) is more dispensible. In fact too much affective empathy in the workplace may go against the bottom line. Devotion to the goals of the company is more important.
For procedural practices and business environments I think that empathy is not important because it does not necessarily effect the bottom line or final outcome of a person's performance. In procedural practices an empathetic surgeon is no different than an unempathetic surgeon while performing surgery. In business environments the empathetic CEO is still expected to make the same quota as the unempathetic CEO.