Leading with Empathy Through Uncertainty and Change

June 12, 2020



Leading with Empathy Through Uncertainty and Change

Leading with Empathy Through Uncertainty and Change

Disruptions, uncertainty, and social unrest have raised the bar for leaders, compelling them to adopt more personal styles and practice empathy. Sophie shares how we can learn new leadership styles incorporating empathy to ensure organizations can adapt for current conditions and ongoing changes. The Future of Work is NOW and we need to make long-term adjustments for the next normal—there is no going back to how things were.


[00:50] The current environment has generated a very different dynamic for leaders.

[01:19] Leaders are needing to adopt more personal styles and practice empathy.

[02:14] The Future of Work is NOW—COVID19 lockdowns have accelerated adoption of new technologies and forced us to experience new work habits.

[02:30] We are in the midst of new upheaval with restrictions easing unevenly.

[03:08] How are you supporting your community of employees?

[03:46] Things are NOT going back to normal. Long-term changes are unavoidable to adjust for where we are now and what’s ahead.

[04:44] How much have you been empathizing with customers recently?

[05:10] Have you been connecting with your reports experiences?

[05:22] What is needed to transition through this uncertainty sustainably—business-wise, execution-wise, and regarding employees’ well-being?

[07:06] Everyone has been dealing with very different situations.

[07:53] Leaders need to learn new mindsets and approaches to deal with COVID19 uncertainties and social unrest related to racial injustice.

[08:56] We can learn and adapt to new leadership models

[10:07] Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel what they are going through.

[10:32] Empathetic leaders in the marines are able to achieve success under extraordinary pressure.

[11:54] Leaders are the ones to create new cohesive environments and drive meaningful change.

[13:11] How does Empathy make a difference?

[14:03] The three components of empathy: Cognitive Empathy, Affective Empathy, and Empathetic Action.

[16:28] What it takes to become an empathetic leader – intermally-focused and externally-applied.
Internally—focusing on mindset, manner, and model.

[17:22] The mindset of an empathetic leader is open and inclusive.

[19:36] A signature of empathetic leaders is an individualized approach towards team members.

[20:38] Being accessible, approachable, and authentic is important for empathetic leaders.

[24:16] Are you setting the example for others by modeling behaviors?

[25:12] Externally—key areas to focus on applying an empathetic approach include culture and values, talent, teamwork, intergenerational integration.

[25:56] It is rarely sustainable to be an empathetic leader without a support environment.

[27:43] Your role as a leader is indispensable to highlight and live by cultural values on a daily basis.

[28:44] Self-awareness is the best places to start to recognize your own reactions, emotions, and judgments in order to start to understand other people’s.

[29:03] How to identify the best work set up for yourself and your direct reports.

[30:10] Using empathy to explore sensitive issues.

[31:18] It is essential to be alert for mental health issues across your team.

[31:52] Empathy IS second nature to us, says Frans De Waal, a Dutch primatologist.

[33:00] IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP – Start anywhere, and build incrementally and you will see the results-- share MORE information, include more people, consider more perspectives, invite more inputs, ask more questions, observe more closely and listen more actively.


‘The current environment has generated a very different dynamic for leaders.’

‘As a leader, to transition through this uncertainty and change SUSTAINABLY, your responsibilities have expanded and deepened.’

‘Empathy is the critical characteristic of leadership now.’

‘As humans, we are empathetic beings.’

‘Self-awareness is the best place to start.’