Tag Archives: Empathy


“When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.” – Stephen Covey

This year I am focusing on everyday leaders. Not those who hold a formal position of authority, but those of us who, through our behaviors, have the ability to influence and inspire those around us just by being us. This is the second installment of articles that focus on one specific behavior that can make a huge difference in our ability to impact the lives of others.

This month I want to talk about empathy. What does empathy have to do with being an everyday leader? It is the empathy of everyday leaders that disarms the defensive and negative attitudes of those around them. It shows the support and understanding that lifts spirits and gives strength when the going gets tough. So, what does empathy look like in everyday leadership?

Seeing through the eyes of others:

It’s easy to see things only from your point of view. When you take the time to see situations and circumstances through the eyes of others, you are better able to understand where they are coming from; why they have the opinions they have, and what factors may be impacting their attitudes and actions. Seeing things from our own perspective leads to biased opinions, actions, and decisions. So many conflicts and misunderstandings stem from an inability to see things from different perspectives. When we develop and exercise this skill, we gain the trust and respect of those we work with. They know that we are able to be unbiased in our evaluation of them and their situation.

Stepping in their shoes:

Just like seeing through the eyes of others, stepping in their shoes gives us a better understanding of who they are. It is easy to judge and make assumptions from the outside looking in; standing in someone else’s shoes can put things in perspective. We never know what someone is going through until we take the time to really find out. When we put forth the time and effort to gain insight into someone else’s inner world, it shows we care. And, everyone needs to know that they are worth caring about.

Setting an example of courage and support:

We all have moments when we feel weak and alone. Everyday leaders truly empathize with others; they show the courage to stand by and support those who need it the most. Their example sets the tone for others to follow. Imagine how every member of a team can thrive when there is an environment of support and understanding.

Empathy allows us to help set others up for success. Everyone struggles, faces obstacles, and feels excluded on occasion. Everyday leaders create an environment of inclusion and support where every member of the team can succeed. Through their empathy, everyday leaders make an impact on the lives of those around them.

How can you start showing empathy today?



© 2018 Liz Stincelli


I am passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. I am the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where I focus on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. I hold a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about me by visiting my website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with me on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact me by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.



















Empathy-The Leadership Big Picture


“Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.” —Daniel H. Pink

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


The Big Picture

Harper Lee reminded us, “You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Empathy is the social and emotional skill that helps us understand and feel the emotions, experiences, intentions, thoughts, and needs of others. It is not a superficial understanding but an understanding at a level that allows us to offer sensitive, insightful, and appropriate support. It is at the core of developing trusting relationships by helping others feel safe and comfortable.

Empathy may be the most important characteristic of a successful leader. As a leader, you must learn to understand and acknowledge how others are thinking and feeling. You can’t give people what they want and need if you don’t know what they want and need. It’s about taking the interests of others as well as your own into consideration. You must be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective. Empathy is about being we-focused rather than I-focused and understanding that, collectively, we are better off when we step outside of our silos. It is easy to get buried in the layers of management and overwhelming amounts of data within our organizations. We get caught up in fighting for our individual needs and forget to look at the bigger picture and true purpose of what we are doing. Empathy directs our focus back to what’s important in the big picture.

Internal organizational empathy

Stephen Covey said, “When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.” Why is empathizing with employees and colleagues so important? People want to work with and be led by someone they trust has an understanding of their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. If you want to be successful as a leader, you must become a reflection of the people you are leading and that requires empathy.

If you really want to get in touch with others, you must learn to actually listen to them. This means more than just hearing the words they say, you must also pay close attention to the signals they are sending. Empathy requires a new level of collaboration, a level that is close and personal. As a leader, you must emphasize value, not just transactions; people, not just processes. Studies show that organizations with happy employees, good organizational culture, and empathetic leaders perform better.

External organizational empathy

David M. Kelley explained, “The main tenet of design thinking is empathy for the people you’re trying to design for. Leadership is exactly the same thing – building empathy for the people that you’re entrusted to help.” Why is it important to have empathy for stakeholders external to your organization? You have to know and understand others before you can truly be of service to them. Having empathy for the wants and needs of your stakeholders isn’t just a superficial exercise; it should be the foundation of your entire business strategy.

Empathy is simple, it’s about understanding and respecting the choices of your clients, suppliers, and other stakeholders so that you can respond to their needs better. You must develop a deep understanding of their motivations; get familiar with what their lives are like on a daily basis. Empathy is about having firsthand knowledge of similar experiences and emotions and using that knowledge to gain a deeper understanding of the world through the eyes of others. It is this understanding that allows you to provide the service that is of the most value.

Reaping the Benefits

What difference would empathy make? For your colleagues? For your clients? For your community? Empathy matters, it lays the foundation for relationships, teamwork, leadership, and innovation. Ben Parr said, “Entrepreneurs may be brutally honest, but fostering relationships with partners and building enduring communities requires empathy, self-sacrifice, and a willingness to help others without expecting anything in return.” Empathy is our ability to identify with what someone else is thinking and feeling and then to respond with the emotion and action that is appropriate. It takes a commitment to really becoming tuned-in to the experiences, thoughts, and emotions of others. Leadership is about making a positive difference and empathy is the tool that brings people together for the benefit of self and others both internal and external to your organization. Empathy brings the big picture into focus.



© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli


Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.